Oriental Papermaking Fibres


Common Name Mitsumata Japanese Name Mitsumata
Scientific Name Thymelaeaceae Edgeworthia Papyrifera
Fibre Length Average 3mm (2-4mm) Fibre Width Average 12µm (4-20µm)
Fibre Ends Variable Cross-Marking Faint
Associated Cells Parenchyma cells are common and stain blue
Herzberg Colour Yellow/Bluish Green Graff 'C' Colour Yellow/Green


Mitsumata is a relatively short fibre with faint surface markings. It is identifiable by the broad central portions that occur in many fibres (See Image 2). Fibre ends are in many shapes, including, blunt, rounded, forked and others. There are many associated cells, which stain blue, that are a variety of shapes (See Image 2). The fibres are known to contain a natural muscilage that helps disperse the fibres making the formation of thick sheets difficult. Crystals are known to occur in the parenchyma cells of Mitsumata, but not Gampi[14].

Mitsumata derives its name from the fact that its branches grow in threes. Although it has been used since the Momoyama period, (1573-1615), it is easier to cultivate than the Gampi shrub. In contrast to pure Kozo papers, pure Mitsumata papers are very expensive, partly due to the difficulty in the cultivation of the plant. It has a smoother, shinier surface than the pure Gampi or Kozo papers and is a light brown colour. Like Gampi, it is generally used for writing characters with fine strokes, such as in Kana, Japanese syllabary, and letters.

Image 1 Image 2
mitsu1 mitsu2


For information about this page, contact: Travis Taylor
Contact email address: travtora@gmail.com
Centre homepage: www.culturalconservation.unimelb.edu.au
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