A 9th-century document confirms that the history of Awa Washi goes back some 1,300 years to times when a family known as Inbe serving the Imperial court, was growing flax and paper mulberry and producing cloth and paper.
Ever since then, the paper-making techniques of Awa Washi have been handed down from one generation to the next in an act of reverent deification of Ame no Hiwashi no Mikoto, the originator of paper-making traditions within the Inbe family.
With the kind of delicate texture and coloring that can only be achieved with a handmade paper, Awa Washi is soft, supple and surprisingly strong. An indigo dyed paper is representative of the naturally dyed papers made, which rank among the finest of the art, craft and wrapping papers.
Awa washi possesses an undyed color (kinari) unique to handmade paper, a gentle feel, a supple softness and the amazing strength of naturally-dyed products.
How to make
Fiber is extracted from carefully selected plants including mulberry, mitsumata (edgeworthia chrysantha) and ganpi, and then transformed into paper by means of a traditional paper making process. The most important stage in the paper-making process is the “nagashi-zuki” stage when fibers are manually swung around using a screen made from bamboo or Japanese nutmeg plant; in particular, keeping the thickness constant and eliminating uneven fibers requires enormous skill.