Noe Fukuzawa

Noe Fukuzawa

Thursday, 23 February 2023 00:14

Making knots with wishes and spirits in mind

Making knots with wishes and spirits in mind

The Art of Mizuhiki

There are many theories about the origin of mizuhiki or decorative rice paper cord. Some experts say mizuhiki dates back to the early 7th century. When the Japanese traveled abroad, they would tie and wrap souvenirs for the emperor’s family using white-and-red-dyed hemp strings. Th e same materials and methods used today were established around this time. Later, mizuhiki came to be used as decoration for gifts. The most familiar use of mizuhiki for the Japanese is when it’s attached to the bags used to wrap gifts and money for weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies. Mizuhiki is said to seal one’s feelings, such as for a married friend, a deceased person, or a bereaved family member. The ornamentation is an incidental element. To find out more, I talked to two mizuhiki artists who work in Tokyo and Kyoto. They did not begin their careers as artists, but after discovering mizuhiki, they both chose the path of traditional crafts as if they were guided by mizuhiki. By learning more about them and the direction they aim to take, I was able to understand the aesthetic sense and philosophy that runs deep within traditional Japanese crafts.


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