【About Japan’s Traditional crafts】～ Japanese Folding Screen Byobu ～
【About Japan’s Traditional crafts】～Japanese Byobu Folding Screen ～
Folding screens, made from Japanese paper (washi) and wood, are a uniquely Japanese furnishing.
They’re used to partition and decorate rooms, and can also be linked and folded up.
Their use can completely change the way a living space is expressed.
Any place you put a folding screen becomes a special place.
Folding screens were prized exports from Japan during the middle ages, often sent as presents to foreign countries.
From the 17th to 19th centuries, people in power would create giant folding screens with elaborate drawings, covered in shining gold leaf, as a display of their wealth and power.
The frame, made of domestic Japanese cedar, consists of the four sides of the outer frame and a portion called the “hone (bones)” latticed in the interior.
* Square blocks of Japanese cedar are carefully carved, and each piece is hammered together by hand using only glue between the pieces. No nails or metal fixtures are used.
Hinges are attached to the base frame, and paper is then lined on the frame.
* Normally, glue is applied to the edges of the paper when attaching it, but in order to strengthen the structure, glue is also applied to the hone portion of the frame before the paper is attached. This keeps the hone portion from moving excessively.
o create a layer of air, overlapping sheets of thin Japanese paper are attached.
*The number of sheets used depends on the size of the byobu.
Thin sheets of Japanese paper with a thin layer of glue over their entire surface are carefully layered over each other with a smoothing brush to prevent wrinkles.
* This traps in the layer of air and further strengthens the structure.
Japanese paper is formed into bags, which are then attached to the structure in order to create another layer of air. This strengthens the structure and will give a sense of fullness when the main layer of paper is applied.
* On top of this, another thin sheet of Japanese paper with a thin layer of glue over the entire surface is firmly attached using a smoothing brush to prevent wrinkles. This holds down the entire lining.
The frames are then combined together with the hinge flaps.
* Sheets of thick paper are inserted between the sections to create a gap when combining the sections together in order to account for the increased thickness after applying the main paper, back paper and edges in a later step.
4. Attaching the main paper
- The main paper is then attached to the firmly lined frame.
* Moisture is applied to the back side of the main paper, which makes the paper expand. This helps create a beautiful finish because the paper will shrink as it dries, which removes wrinkles.
Glue is applied to all four corners of the main paper, and the four sides are folded in using a smoothing brush to prevent wrinkles.
- 5. Back paper
- Fabric cut to the size of the frame is attached to the back side. *As with the main paper, moisture is applied to the back side of the fabric, glue is applied on all four edges, and it is folded in using a smoothing brush.
- 6. Edges
- Edges are attached to give the structure the characteristic byobu-like appearance.
* A lined, woven fabric cut to the size of the frame is attached with glue so that it does not shift left or right.
- 7. Finishing (supports and metal fittings)
- Supports coated with kashu (polygonum root) with are attached to all sides of the frame.
Finally, decorative metal fittings are attached to the supports. The byobu is now finished.
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