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Model of a bonsai tree, an engagement present made from mizuhiki Bonsai aus Geschenkschnurchen makffm.jpg
Model of a bonsai tree, an engagement present made from mizuhiki

Mizuhiki (水引) is an ancient Japanese artform that uses stiff rice paper cord - also referred to as mizuhiki - to create three dimensional sculptures and models.

The cord is created by twisting lengths of rice paper together tightly, before starching them for strength and stiffness, and colouring them for decoration. Methods of colouration include a thin, brightly coloured mylar coating, wrapping the mizuhiki in thin strands of silk, or simply painting the cord.

There are a number of different forms of mizuhiki; it is traditionally used to create decorations given away at special occasions, such as the birth of a child, weddings, and funerals. Mizuhiki given at these occasions commonly take the forms of animals or boats, with different forms used for different auspicious meanings; cranes, frogs, fish, dragons and turtles are amongst the most popular.

Other traditional forms of mizuhiki include decorating cards with decorative knots tied with lengths of mizuhiki, similar to the Western use of ribbons tied in a bow around a present; a third style of mizuhiki is using the cord to create paper jewellery.

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