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Edo Hyogu
(Scroll Mountings)

30 Edo Hyogu (Scroll Mountings)
Main Areas of Manufacture
Ota Ward, Koto Ward, Taito Ward
Designation/Certification Dates
July 26th, 1989 (Tokyo Certification)
Traditional Technologies and Techniques
(Scrolls: hanging scrolls, rolled scrolls)
  1. Materials are selected and arranged in order to suitably bring out the characteristics of the works to be mounted.
  2. Application of the first layer of mounting material is called hada-urauchi. When applied, care must be taken to prevent wrinkling. The next mounting layer is called mashi-urauchi. It increases thickness and uniformity of the mount. It also provides firmness and resilience to it. The final layer of mounting material is called age-urauchi. In this process, a nade-bake brush is used to brush pieces of mounting material into place as they are applied. The uchi-bake brush is then used to damp the material down using a pounding motion. Finally, the mounting material applied is then thoroughly brushed again with a nade-bake brush.
  3. During the kiritsugi process, the mounting material is trimmed to an appropriate size and adhesive paste is applied to the edges. The elements are then pasted on in sequence with the work to be displayed situated in the center of the mount.
Framework underlayers: folding screens, wagaku (Japanese picture frames), fusuma (paper sliding doors)
  1. When attaching layers of paper to framework underlayers, an adhesive paste is used (this is a process called hone-shibari). Paper is overlapped to prevent transparency (the ribs of the framework showing through the paper). The overlapping of paper also strengthens the hone-shibari further (called uchitsuke). Several layers of paper are added to the mounting to provide a cushioning effect (called mino-bari). Additional pieces of paper are added on top of previous layers in order to affix them in place (called mino-osae). Paper is attached with paste applied only on its edges (called fukuro-bari). Finally, the finishing paper is applied to the mounting (called uwa-bari).
  2. Trimming is carried out parallel with the framework.
  3. Strong washi (traditional Japanese paper) is used for the hanetsuke (the connecting portions between sections of a folding screen). A thin layer of paper known as an aisa is placed between section pairs of a folding screen to add a bit of looseness.
Traditionally Used Raw Materials
Fabric, mounting paper, lining paper, surface paper, backing paper, ribbing and frames, starch paste
History and Characteristics

Through agencies such as the Tang Missions, the Hyogu (scroll mounting) craft said to have been born during China's Tang Dynasty (618-907), arrived on Japanese shores approximately 1,000 years ago. Over time, this craft has evolved along with lifestyle and architectural changes in Japan. It has become something unique to the nation via both its refinement, and via the deep involvement with the flourishing of the tea ceremony which spanned across the Muromachi, Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo Periods (1333-1868).

The technological underpinnings of the Hyogu craft were initially developed in Kyoto, a city in which many shrines and temples congregated. It might be assumed that this was because the city generated great demand for scroll mountings that were capable of displaying Buddhist scriptures and religious pictures.

Initially, such craftsmen were generally referred to as kyoji (picture framers). However, the content of their work evolved and became more diversified with the passage of time. By the Edo Period (1603-1868), in that such craftsmen were handling kakejiku (hanging scroll),byobu (folding screen) and fusuma (sliding door) tasks, there were no longer distinctions between those who were still referred to as kyoji (picture framers) and those who were considered hyogushi (scroll mounters).

With the construction of daimyo residences in Edo during the Genroku Era (1688-1704), many craftsmen indentured to the daimyo also settled themselves in the city. With the flowering of culture among the townspeople, the Edo Hyogu industry flourished as both calligraphy and art became pastimes that the general public began to appreciate.

A reverse of fortunes was experienced as demand for Hyogu declined with the coming of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). This development was in line with wider trends that sought to discard traditions in favor of westernization and modernization. While demand for the Hyogu craft was increased during the Taisho (1912-1926) and pre-war Showa Eras, the industry again experienced great difficulty after the Second World War. Currently, we are carving out a new path for ourselves.

Although the materials used in Hyogu such as Japanese paper, fabric, water and paste, seem to be very simple, it takes many years of training to expertly use the different types of paper and brushes. In this respect, Hyogu is referred to "as an art resulting from water and brushes."

In that very few names are listed in the records as masters of Hyogu, it can be understood that such craftsmen prefer to ply their trade away from the spotlight.

Contact Details
Manufacturing Area
Cooperative Name
Tokyo Scroll Mounts Interior Association
AddressRoom 402, Dai 2 Higashi Building, 4-10-14
Higashi-Ueno, Taito Ward, Tokyo 110-0015
Telephone No.03 (5826) 1773
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