Chiyogami Papers

D. Sidney Berger, Chiyogami Papers (Newtown, Penn.: Bird & Bull Press, 2011). Copy 99 of 120. Composed in Ehrhardt types by Michael & Winifred Bixler & bound by Campbell-Logan bindery. The Japanese lettering is by master calligrapher Shozo Sato. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process


Chiyogami designs were originally developed in the Edo period as woodblock prints. The decorative papers were made into colorful paper dolls or pasted on tea tins or small paper boxes. In the twentieth century, these patterns began to be applied using silkscreens and this continues today.

As the preface notes, “Not much has been written in English about these lovely papers. Only one book, Ann Herring’s The World of Chiyogami, published in 1987, looks at the subject, but, while it has much information, it leaves out a great deal about chiyogami’s history, manufacture, papers, makers, pigments, woodblocks, stencils, uses, and patterns, among other things.”


Henry Morris founded Bird & Bull Press in 1958, where he has published numerous studies on paper marbling. This is his seventh and most beautiful. The volumes are especially useful because of the striking samples of hand-marbled papers tipped into each copy.

Sidney Berger is The Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum and adjunct Professor at Simmons College and at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana. He and his wife, Michele Cloonan, are the proprietors of the Doe Press, and they have a large collection of decorated papers.