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210122-0017-OS - Making Blue Paper


Shiga Meiji 1870s Utagawa Hiroshige III

Woodblock print of farmers making aobanagami (青花紙) blue-stained paper in Shiga Prefecture. The product is still produced here today.

The farmers used the blue juice from the petals of the tsuyukusa (露草, Asiatic dayflower). Interestingly, the dye was also used by ukiyoe artists, but it was eventually replaced by the more stable imported Prussian blue.

Original title: Making aobanagami blue-stained paper in Omi Province (近江國青花紙製圖) from the series Products of Greater Japan (大日本物産圖會, Dai Nippon Bussan Zue) by Utagawa Hiroshige III (三代目 歌川広重, 1842?-1894). Published in Tokyo by Okura Magobei (大倉孫兵衛) in 1877 (Meiji 10).

The series was published just before the opening of the First National Industrial Exposition (第1回内国勧業博覧会) in Tokyo’s Ueno Park on August 21, 1877.

Private Collection
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Asiatic Dayflower, Commelina Communis, Dai Nippon Bussan Zue, Shiga, Utagawa Hiroshige III, agriculture, aobanagami, baskets, clothing, customs, dyeing, farmers, fashion, occupations, people, rural, trades, traditions, tsuyukusa, ukiyoe, woodblock prints, work
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