AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Arty or crafty?

Posted by ampontan on Tuesday, August 16, 2011

THE traditional Japanese paper known as washi is used to make all sorts of things in addition to ordinary sheets of paper. They include clothes, household goods, toys, ritual objects used in Shinto, furniture, the paper used in shoji sliding doors, loudspeaker cones, umbrellas, Japanese banknotes…

…6.8-meter-high statues of the tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur…

Gao!

The accompanying photo is proof that the paper dinosaur exists, placed outdoors in Katsuyama, Fukui, near — where else? — the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum. It was built with a frame of bamboo struts covered with chicken wire. That was overlaid with Echizen washi, one of the region’s traditional handicrafts. It was deliberately left colorless to preserve the washi appearance, and it was waterproofed to keep it from falling apart in the rain. The folks in Fukui put it up now for paper dinosaur fans because it contrasts with the surrounding greenery. They’ll keep it up until December, when it begins to snow. The idea, of course, is to attract tourists.

Hey, I’d go see it if I were within easy distance of Fukui — and admit it, so would you!

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