These wonderfully decorative patterns on paper, known as Chiyogami, are silkscreened onto machine made sheets of mixed kozo and sulphite. They are more popularly known as Yuzen in the United States.
Originally, Chiyogami designs were developed in the Edo period as woodblock prints by papermakers during the farming season for use as accessories in the house to enliven the interiors. They were based on the bright kimono textiles which the papermakers from the countryside saw on the fashionable wealthier ladies in the larger cities, especially in Kyoto, where the area known as Yuzen had become famous for its sophisticated techniques for dyeing cloth.
Chiyogami was meant to be cut into pieces and made into paper dolls or pasted on tea tins or small paper boxes; still today the scale of the patterns is reminiscent of these early uses. And still many of the symbols depicted hearken back to auspicious occasions when fancy kimonos would be worn: cranes for long life; bamboo for flexibility; plum blossoms and pine boughs for beauty and longevity.
The striking pigment colours, careful registration of screens and wide range of designs make these papers ideal for picture mats, books and box making.