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- Author Ishimi Ōsugi
- Date of production 2006
- Place of creation Japan
- Dimensions length: 50 cm, width: 49.3 cm
- ID no. MSITJM0072
- Acquired date donated by Ishimi Ōsugi
- Object copyright The Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology
- Digital images copyright all rights reserved, The Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology
- Digitalizacja RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums Plus project
A kimono is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think of Japan. We always see those traditional dresses exquisitely decorated with painted or embroidered designs. Each of them is decorated with the most beautiful and elegant patterns. However, there are also everyday kimonos with repeating, small patterns of flowers, birds, fans and other motifs. They are made using stencils such as the Ise-katagami, which the Japanese have been creating for centuries.more
A kimono is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think of Japan. We always see those traditional dresses exquisitely decorated with painted or embroidered designs. Each of them is decorated with the most beautiful and elegant patterns. However, there are also everyday kimonos with repeating, small patterns of flowers, birds, fans and other motifs. They are made using stencils such as the Ise-katagami, which the Japanese have been creating for centuries.
The Ise-katagami stencils, cut out of katajigami paper infused with persimmon juice, have been created in the area around the modern city of Suzuki, in Mie prefecture, since the Muromachi period (1337–1573). They have been used to decorate fabrics, in particular those intended for traditional dresses, as well as to cover ceramics, leather, and even patterned sweets. At present, they are also used to create paintings and designs on screens and lanterns.
In 1952, Ise-katagami was recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan, and because of this fact, Ise-katagami handicraft may be supported by the Japanese state and it can still be developed.
The presented Ise-katagami dyeing stencil with a motif of momiji maple leaves and branches was created by the master Ishimi Ōsugi, an artist who specialises in cutting out katagami, specially for the exhibition “A Disappearing Tradition: Ise-katagami and Kimono", displayed in the Ethnographic Museum in Wrocław, the Manggha Museum, as well as the Embassy of Japan in Warsaw in 2006. Ōsugi received a photo of a stencil of the same motif which was part of Feliks Jasieński's collection, and, on the basis of the photo, he made a copy of this stencil. Then he rearranged the motif and created a new stencil of an almost square shape (whereas traditional stencils are of a rectangular shape). This stencil, at present a part of the collection of the Manggha Museum, was used to dye fabric for a new kimono which was also displayed during the exhibition mentioned above.
The pattern of momiji maple leaves and branches refers to autumn — the time when leaves of maple trees change their colour for red, thus adding colour and beauty to the countryside where they grow. While spring in Japan is the time to admire cherry trees in bloom, in November crowds are delighted by the sight of red maple leaves on trees near shrines in Nikkō, Kyoto, and in many other places.
The stencil was made using the tsukibori technique. Tsukibori (Japanese: “cutting by pushing”) is one of five techniques of cutting out patterns. The distinguishing feature of this method is the manner in which the craftsman cuts out the pattern with a small knife of a long blade and handle, by making cuts from the top downwards, away from himself. It enables him to make large and delicate patterns. Because of their pliability, stencils are often reinforced with itoire silk thread which keeps very thin strips of the cut out paper in the same plane.
Other cutting techniques:
- hikibori (Jap. “cutting by pulling”) — this is a method similar to tsukibori, as cuts in this technique are made with a tool of the same type, but in this case, the knife is a bit bent and it is used without breaks in a motion towards the cutter. This is also the most popular method used by both professionals and amateurs.
- dōgubori (Jap. “cutting with tools”) — in this method, two blades are used which have the form of readymade patterns e.g. of cherry flower petals, which are fixed to a wooden handle. A craftsman using this technique must be able to make such tools by himself. As he must create various patterns, he often has even a few hundred of such blades.
- ichimaizuki (Jap. “puncturing with one blade”) — this technique is similar to dōgubori, as it consists in making single cuts from the top downwards, but the cuts are made with the use of a chisel of one blade in the shape of a straight line, a semicircle, or a wave. At present, this method is rarely used due to the popularity of dōgubori.
- kiribori (Jap. “punching”) — this is the oldest technique created using semicircular blades which are stuck into paper and turned in order to get the shape of a circle a fraction of a millimetre in diameter. Various shapes can be created from those small circles and they can be differentiated by the arrangement and size of holes. In the case of the smallest patterns, there are about one hundred holes on 1 centimetre square of fabric.
During the exhibition in Kraków, master Ōsugi conducted workshops within which all interested individuals had the opportunity to try cutting out designs with a katajigami stencil and to dye their fabrics.
Elaborated by Aleksandra Görlich (The Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved
Zanikająca tradycja – Ise-katagami i kimono, Anna Król (ed.), Kraków 2006.