Shoji Styles

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Shoji Screens, Shoji Room Screen Dividers

Makers of shoji screens or shoji room dividers today use the best materials and building methods available and tailor-made shoji screens or shoji room dividers are there for your wide choice. Above all, the best designs are able to blend the beauty of traditional Japanese shoji screens with the long-lastingness and proportions necessary in contemporary Western homes.

Three Panel Floor Screen

Three Panel Floor Screen - Cherry Stained Wood Frame

Shoji screens were initially employed in houses in Japan to form a separation between interior living areas and the outdoor or patio area, at the same time permitting light to enter the room. Large rooves drooped down covering the veranda and protected the screens from the elements. Sliding wooden shoji doors kept the veranda separate from the outside world while also providing security and calm sense of peace of mind at night. Shoji screens having a large expanse of Japanese shoji rice paper and finely finished woods, sufficiently complement the interior designing part of traditional homes.

The generation of shoji screens had its origin from the earliest forms of Chinese folding screens. Chinese screens, some of which are paper, found today date from the eighth century AD. However, literary references date as far back as the Zhou dynasty (4th to 3rd century BC). Interestingly, the depictions of screens can be seen in Han dynasty tombs (200 BC-200 AD). But, it was in Japan that the screen form evolved into its most popular varieties.

Japanese screen variations include, Byobu, a folding screen (Byobu roughly means "protection from the wind"); Tsuitate, a single panel entrance screen; Fusuma, sliding door; shoji screens (Shoji or soji is the term for translucent paper doors or windows); Tobusuma, a wood sliding screen; and Sugido, a cedar board.

Japanese Shoji screens were used for tea ceremonies, as backdrops for concerts or dances, as enclosures for Buddhist rites, and for outdoor processions. The type of folding varied according to the purpose of its use. For example, small two-fold screens were chosen for tea ceremonies, while large, gold-leaf screens with up to eight folds served as backdrops for dancing. Later, lightweight and flexible screens were introduced in order to ease its transportation. A lightweight but strong core was produced with a lattice of a stable wood covered with many layers of paper, which was handcrafted in a specific sequence and resembled a "karibari".

The Shoji screens have such fine workmanship that one can be really proud of possessing them. The panels are breathtaking and screens are made to perfection. In traditional installations, shoji screens are sliding on wooden tracks both at the top and bottom. Softwoods like spruce or cedar is used, with a fine rice paper insert glued to the inner gridwork on one side.

Shoji screens are used as pocket doors, window coverings, closet doors and freestanding hinged panels used as room divider screens or for privacy. Thus they also came to be called as shoji room dividers. They are also good as office partitions, cabinet doors, skylight covers and headboards. With their simple neat lines they look natural when used in specialty designed windows, may it be round, arch topped or rake windows. Making shoji screens is a popular pursuit of the do it yourself enthusiast.

On other pages of this section we provide links to retailers of shoji floor screens in the following categories:

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