About Chigiri-e & Washi

What is Chigiri-e?

Handmade Washi papers are essential for the creation of Chigiri-e, or torn paper art. The art form dates back to Japan’s Heian period, when Chigiri-e was used to create backgrounds for calligraphy. In recent years, Chigiri-e has become a highly valued art form.


The Chigiri-e artist tears colorful Washi papers in small pieces with their fingers to create delicate petals, leaves and other elements used to form images and produce one-of-a-kind works of art that have unique textures and layers of color. It is a delicate and meticulous process. Sometimes small scissors, or meuchi, a perforation tool, may be used, particularly if the artist is a using durable machine-made Washi paper. But still, each piece is a handmade work of art.


Ink may also be applied along with the glued torn papers, to achieve the artist’s desired effect. Often, Chigiri-e art looks like a watercolor or oil painting. 


What is Washi?

Washi, a traditional Japanese paper, was first created 2,000 years ago and is still made today from plant fibers. The Kozo plant and Mitsumata shrub, which are only grown in Japan, are just two of the many plant sources used to create this versatile product.

Washi papers are utilized to create original works of art and are an integral material used worldwide in the restoration of historic art, as well.



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