In Japanese architecture, fusuma (襖) are opaque vertical rectangles which can slide from side to side to redefine spaces within a room, or act as doors. They typically measure about convert|3|ft|m wide by convert|6|ft|m tall, the same size as a tatami mat, and are two or three centimeters thick. The heights of fusuma have increased in recent years due to an increase in average height of the Japanese population, and a 190 cm height is now common. In older constructions, they are as little as 170 cm high. They consist of a wooden frame, covered in cardboard and a layer of paper. They typically have a black lacquer border and a round, indented door handle.

Historically, fusuma were painted, often with scenes from nature such as mountains, forests or animals. Today, many feature plain rice paper, or have industrially printed graphics of fans, autumn leaves, cherry blossoms, trees, or geometric graphics. Patterns for children featuring popular characters can also be purchased.

Both fusuma and shoji (sheer, translucent paper room dividers) run on wooden rails at the top and bottom. The upper rail is called a nihongo|kamoi|鴨居|, literally "duck's place", and the lower is called a nihongo|shikii|敷居|. Traditionally these were waxed, but nowadays they usually have a vinyl lubricating strip to ease movement of the fusuma and shoji.

Along with the fusuma, shoji and tatami straw mats (as the floor) make up a typical Japanese room.

External links

* [http://www.kodama.nl/fusuma.htm Handmade fusuma by Kodama]

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