Hiromi is back from her visit to Japan and Korea! She has visited Nishimura Yahei in Kyoto and brought back a new size, (5 bu), stencil brush to add to our stencil brush series.
Kazuki Nishimura, the eleventh successor of the prestigious Nishimura-yahei shop, is the the current brushmaker. The shop was founded in the Edo period several hundreds ago. Visiting the shop, Hiromi says, you can smell and feel the 500 year old history of the place, something that is becoming more rare in Japan.
For craftsmen working with paper, brushes have been used to mount paper on fusuma, shojo, and others. They are indispensable tools for repairing cultural assets made of paper or silk. For this, there are different types of brushes for the different functions, water brushes, paste brushes, mounting assembly brushes, smoothing brushes, and tapping brushes. Each type uses different types of bristles, and are handmade; the process includes washing, cutting, ash dusting, and putting the bristles in order, then wrapping, applying adhesive, drying, and then pinching them into the handles, followed by boring and binding of the handles, then shaving, filing, and sealing the final product.
We are now introducing one of his spreading brushes, the Shigokibake, with bristles made out of Chinese water badger. About 20 grams are used for each brush, with a length of approx. 5/8″. The bristles are short, glossy, and flexible, and used to wipe out excessive paste by moving the brush from the center of the sheet to the outer edge.