Research on Production of Spiderwort-dyed Paper – Start of Joint Research with Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture

Petals of Asiatic Dayflowers Are Being Picked (Photo Provided by Kusatsu City)
Extract from Asiatic Dayflowers Are Being Applied to Japanese Paper (Photo Provided by Kusatsu City)

The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage started a joint research on the spiderwort-dyed paper production technique with the Kusatsu Municipal Government in Shiga Prefecture from FY2016. Spiderwort-dyed paper is Japanese paper soaked in the extract from Asiatic dayflower petals.
Spiderwort-dyed paper was a specialty of Omi Province, Tokaido, which was also referred to in an old book titled “Kefukigusa” ‘(written in 1638). The paper is used for Yuzen dyeing and tie dyeing even today. As for Yuzen dyeing, the water-soluble feature of the blue pigment of Asiatic dayflowers has been utilized. For Yuzen, coloring is performed after drawing a fine pattern with a solution prepared by submerging spiderwort-dyed paper in water, and placing paste for fine line printing like a levee to prevent dyes from penetrating. Spiderwort-dyed paper is indispensable for colorful dyeing with silk fabrics.
However, there are only three producers of spiderwort-dyed paper left. In this joint research, with cooperation from such producers, we will organize its value as local and eventually national cultural property or heritage for utilization as basic data for future protection.
We will examine how we will be able to hand down the spiderwort-dyed paper production technique transferred from person to person to the coming generation while making comparisons with cases in other districts.

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