Rice paper

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MFA #: 1976.592
Rice straw paper

1) An unstandardized name for soft, tissue-thin paper.

2) Paper made from thin layers of pith cut from rice paper trees, Tetrapanax papyrifera cultivated in China and Japan or from Aralia papyrifera cultivated in Thailand. The pith is cut in spirals to form long ribbons. The exposed cellular structure of the pith gives the paper a unique spongy structure. Rice paper is stretchy when wet and brittle when dry. It will crack when heated and is easily damaged by abrasion. Rice paper was popular for Chinese watercolor paintings in the 19th century. The delicate, porous textured paper is also used for artificial flowers.

3) Paper made from rice straw. See straw.

Synonyms and Related Terms

2) rice plant paper; pith paper; China paper; rijstpapier (Ned.); papier de Chine (Fr.); papier di riz (Fr.); Reispapier (Deut.); carta di riso (It.); papel de arroz (Esp.); papel de China (Esp.); rispapper (Sven.); japanpapper (Sven.)

Resources and Citations

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • Bernard Toale, The Art of Papermaking, Davis Publications, Portland OR, 1983
  • Silvie Turner, Which Paper?, Design Press, New York, 1991
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 578
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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