History of Tsumami-zaiku vol.4

From Fusajiro Yoshioka, Women’s Art And Crafts of Tsumami-zaiku, 1914

Section 1. Materials for Tsumami-zaiku

  • Silk for Tsumami-zaiku  : It was made of fabric thinner than chirimen, and at that time, there was a kind just used for Tsumami-zaiku.
  • “Chirimen” (Japanese silk crepe) for Tsumami-zaiku: As well as silk, there was a kind of chirimen just used for Tsumami-zaiku.
  •  “Rinzu” (Japanese silk satin): Used as a fabric for base covering.
  • “Habutae” (Japanese thin silk): Used for base covering.
  • Cardboard: Used for making base
  • Yarn: Used for silk thread kanzashi
  • Wire: Used to make kanzashi flowers (They used to burn wire to whiten).
  • Hime nori(Starch glue): Made by kneading white rice.
  • Aluminum leg: For kanzashi (frog crotch type, pine needle type, etc.)
  • Paints: Used for dyeing cloths.

Yoshioka also described the basic color of the cloth used for Tsumami-zaiku.

“Kaba-iro” (strong yellowish-red like birch), “Hiwa-iro” (bright yellowish-green ), flesh color (skin tone color), Cerulean blue (bright blue), White tea (white beige), “Asagi-iro” (bright greenish-blue: indigo dyeing), “Mizu-asagi” (lightened asagi-iro), peony color (bright redish-purple), white, black, yellow, wisteria (purple)
“Hatoba-iro” (dull bluish-purple like a dove feather), brown, olive, blue, etc.
It is written that most things can be made out of these colors.

If you look at the colors, it is obvious that many colors are Japanese traditional colors. These colors are mostly used for dyeing artificial flowers at that time.

Section 2. Tools for Tsumami-zaiku

  • Gripping scissors (Japanese traditional thread-cutting scissors): Not western scissors, Japanese scissors are efficient because you can use it with tweezers in your hand. Work pace is a lot faster. Please refer to the left picture.
  • Tweezers: Iron tweezers, thin and flat surface.
  • Bamboo Spatula: Used to knead and spread glue.
  • Wooden board: Cypress or Magnolia may be strong and firm in the water. Surface should be flat to spread the glue.
  • Spiral device: Used to make the swirl of the flower core(Please refer to the below picture). Picture on upper side.
  • “Koro-ita”: Used to stretch wire to make it straight. Picture on bottom side.

Sample of swirls for the flower core

As you see, in the Taisho era, there are many exclusive types of cloths and tools for Tsumami-zaiku, which we cannot find now. People used to make self-made starch glue from rice. It is certain that Tsumami-zaiku was so popular and made among common people in Japan.

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