Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sogara Yuzen

188 Galerie is a boutique that showcases decorative paper products from all over the world. 

Last autumn, we blogged about The Art of Washithe traditional papers made from the long inner fibers of three plants native to Japan - kozo, mitsumata and gampi. 

This month's blog features Sogara Yuzen which means "single view" in Japanese and refers to the large, hand-screened sheets of paper that show vibrant elements of Japanese art and culture.


Yuzen is also called Chiyogami and refers to the repetitive patterns found in many kimono textiles and origami papers. 

Yuzen patterns were originally designed for the textile industry in Kyoto where the production of cloth for kimonos reached its zenith. Yuzen designs were very elaborate, and included a lot of gold.

Chiyogami is a specific word developed to describe the graphic, repetitive designs applied to paper in the Edo period. 

Originally the design was applied with wood blocks, but today most patterns are produced with silk screen techniques. 

Printed by hand, using pigment based inks and a separate screen for each color, on machine made paper containing a proportion of kozo fiber, the designs were originally inspired by kimono patterns and the method of printing produces intense colors and resistance to fading. 

Birds & Flowers on Gold



This magnificent Sogara Yuzen decorative sheet consists of a single image, silk screened by hand across the entire sheet of paper.  The image depicts birds such as peacocks and cranes, in and over water, enveloped by colorful flowers, with shimmering gold accents. 

1000 Cranes


This sublime image depicts a pattern of cranes flying across the paper on a shimmering gold background.  In Asian cultures, the noble crane has long been a symbol representing good health, longevity, truth, and fidelity. 

Katso Fugetsu


This serene image celebrates the beauty of nature, particularly elegant cranes soaring over a lush and colorful landscape. The flowers, mountains, and water depicted here are embellished with subtle gold accents. 

Old Streets


This lush scene depicts the activities of people moving about their daily lives in the old streets of a Japanese village and is also embellished with gold accents.

As with washi, these papers possess countless uses too and are used in bookbinding, lamps, lanterns, fans, screens, gift wrap, origami, collage and so much more. 

Now available in store and online at 188 Galerie