Are Raw Papers are Really Raw? Many Sumi e teachers even do not know.
As the current trend, the raw rice papers with ink control function are dominating the market. When being used in painting, they are felt like 30% sized (semi-processed) paper, and ink result is good and much easier to handle. They are essentially different from alum sized papers which apply chemical alum to rice paper. As a supplier, sumiestore.com selects papers very carefully suiting for western artists’ situation.
Lightly alum applied papers help ink controlling but they have many problems. Firstly, alum applied papers will gradually turn to fully sized paper, thus the papers are worse for freehand painting as the time goes on. Although it is not a problem for calligraphers, painters have to use all them out in a short period or waste money. Secondly, alum applied rice papers are not good for value appreciation at all. Alum papers trend to be rigid and even have holes after years of storage. Therefore, time is not the friend of alum applied papers.
Raw paper with ink control, as named as physical sized methods, is not a new concept. They can be aged for value appreciation, help handle the ink and create great results. The paper by following common three physical processing methods are for raw paper, although they are not felt so raw.
- Red Star uses marble to grind the surface of ink paper to close the tiny pores of paper for ink control. In Chinese term, this is 玉版 ( YuBan). Red Star has increased the supply of YuBan in recent years. Be careful that other factories’ YuBan are not marble ground paper, but alum applied. If prefer YuBan, make sure to purchase Red Star only.
- MingXing and some other Chinese factories use special fishing skills to produce ink control raw papers. For example, MingXing Ink Immortal has been widely appreciated by Sumi e community and was named as “magic paper”.
- Adjusting the steaming time for Tapa mulberry bark makes Tapa mulberry paper owns ink control function. Producers do not disclose the details. My Tapa mulberry paper was adopted by SSA annual work shop 2016.
Many of papers in sumiestroe.com are marked as raw paper and felt like 30% sized and ink effect is amazing. From the seller’s standpoint, aging paper for value appreciation is a good idea to balance lower paper inventory turnover.
In summary, physical method applied raw papers are super than alum paper. And they are still raw papers, good for aging for better painting results and value appreciation.
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