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Japanese Series



Ōban, a traditional Japanese paper size, holds a unique position in the world of printmaking. Unlike the standardized dimensions dictated by ISO or ANSI series, Ōban carves its own niche with dimensions typically measuring 15 x 10 inches (38 x 25 cm). This divergence from international standards underscores its cultural significance and historical roots.

Originating from the Edo period (1603-1868), Ōban was primarily used for ukiyo-e prints - a genre of art that flourished in Japan between the 17th and 19th centuries. The size offered artists ample space to depict intricate scenes and narratives, contributing to the rich tapestry of Japanese art history.

Ōban paper dimensions


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2A046.81 x 66.221189 x 1682119 x 1683370 x 4768
A120.51 x 0.7113 x 181 x 237 x 51
4A066.22 x 93.621682 x 2378168 x 2384768 x 6741
A110.71 x 1.0218 x 262 x 351 x 74
A101.02 x 1.4626 x 373 x 474 x 105
A3+12.95 x 19.02329 x 48333 x 48933 x 1369
A1+23.98 x 35.98609 x 91461 x 911726 x 2591
A0+35.98 x 50.87914 x 129291 x 1292591 x 3662
A64.13 x 5.83105 x 14811 x 15298 x 420
A55.83 x 8.27148 x 21015 x 21420 x 595
A48.27 x 11.69210 x 29721 x 30595 x 842
A311.69 x 16.54297 x 42030 x 42842 x 1191
A91.46 x 2.0537 x 524 x 5105 x 147
A216.54 x 23.39420 x 59442 x 591191 x 1684
A82.05 x 2.9152 x 745 x 7147 x 210
A123.39 x 33.11594 x 84159 x 841684 x 2384
A72.91 x 4.1374 x 1057 x 11210 x 298
A033.11 x 46.81841 x 118984 x 1192384 x 3370

In modern times, Ōban continues to be favored by artists seeking an unconventional canvas. Its distinctive proportions offer a refreshing break from standard A-series or B-series paper sizes. Moreover, it serves as an intriguing choice for those looking to infuse their work with an element of historical authenticity.

Despite its non-conformity to ISO or ANSI standards, Ōban's enduring popularity testifies to its versatility and appeal. It stands as a testament that creativity often thrives outside standardized boundaries - a lesson applicable not just in printmaking but across various artistic disciplines.

Other Formats in the Japanese Series

Interesting facts about Ōban

1: Ōban Paper Origin

Ōban paper is a traditional Japanese paper that originated during the Edo period (1603-1868). It was primarily used for woodblock printing and calligraphy.

2: Unique Sizing

Ōban paper measures approximately 15 x 10 inches (38.1 x 25.4 cm), making it larger than the standard A4 size but smaller than the A3 size commonly used in Western countries.

3: Versatile Usage

In addition to woodblock printing and calligraphy, Ōban paper is also used for various art forms such as painting, bookbinding, and printmaking due to its durability and absorbency.

4: Handmade Craftsmanship

The production of Ōban paper involves a meticulous process that includes beating kozo fibers, forming sheets by hand, and drying them on wooden boards. This traditional method contributes to its unique texture and strength.

5: Natural Materials

Ōban paper is made from renewable plant fibers, primarily sourced from mulberry trees (kozo). The use of natural materials enhances its eco-friendliness and biodegradability.

6: Resistance to Aging

Due to its high-quality composition, Ōban paper has excellent resistance to aging. When properly stored and cared for, artworks created on this type of paper can last for centuries without significant deterioration.

7: Cultural Significance

In Japan, Ōban paper holds cultural significance as it has been used for centuries in traditional arts like ukiyo-e prints and shodo (Japanese calligraphy). It represents a connection to the country's rich artistic heritage.

8: International Recognition

Ōban paper gained international recognition through the popularity of Japanese woodblock prints, which were exported during the late 19th century. These prints showcased the unique qualities of Ōban paper to a global audience.

9: Modern Adaptations

In contemporary times, Ōban paper continues to be used by artists worldwide. Its adaptability has led to innovative applications in mixed media art, collage, and even digital printing.

10: Preservation Efforts

To ensure the preservation of traditional Japanese papermaking techniques, organizations like the Echizen Washi Village in Fukui Prefecture actively promote and support the production of Ōban paper and other traditional papers.