Japanese paper art takes on a new form

Ask a Japanese person what mizuhiki is, and you’ll get responses referring to the intricately twisted cord decoration found on traditional, celebratory gift-envelopes found in Japan.

That answer isn’t wrong, since the cords are the most commonly seen form of this unique style of art, but mizuhiki is certainly far more than that.

Mizuhiki is an old, traditional art form first introduced to Japan from Sui dynasty China during the Asuka era (550-710 A.D.), and is used for far more than making decorative cords for envelopes. The works of art made today using the historic method of tightly wound, starched, and colored rice paper are nothing short of gorgeous.

Hiromi Nagasawa, who was originally a graphic artist from Tokyo, is now making original mizuhiki for wedding and engagement gifts, and has her own store in Fukuoka Prefecture. Her works have rightly gained a lot of attention for their intricacy and sheer beauty.

While these pieces don’t quite hold the same importance in ceremonial gift-giving as they once did, they are still highly valued works of art.

By Meg Murphy for www.japantoday.com

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