A technical dictionary of printmaking, André
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Japan paper is made either with the bark of the morus papifera sativa
or with bamboo shoots. Japan paper is thin, slightly transparent, and satiny but at
the same time it is extremely resistant. This paper lends itself to the finest
impressions and gives them a particular beauty. Various thicknesses are available as
well as various shades of cream or white. The whitest paper is the thickest grade.
Japan paper is very absorbant since it has little sizing and because of this printing
plates or blocks must be heavily inked for good results. This kind of paper also
prints well with the watery type of inks used in serigraphic printing.
An imitation Japan paper exists which, despite remarkable qualities such as a
good resistance to dampening and very luminous impressions, due to a smooth and
creamy surface, does not have the satiny finish of real Japan. However, imitation
Japan paper is much less expensive than real Japan.
The Japan paper fashion began in France around 1850 when the printer Delātre first
made it popular. Much at the same time oriental prints began to influence artists
such as Degas, Van Gogh, Lautrec, Manet, etc.
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