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Translucency, Paper and an Interior of Restrained Elegance

Written on June 9, 2009

A little over a week ago I posted an entry on the beautifully translucent shoji panels at Kastura-rikyu, the 17th century princely retreat in Kyoto.  That posting got me thinking of another few photos of translucent washi which I photographed at Kyoto’s famous ryokan, or traditional inn,        The Tawaraya.tawaraya1

These photos were taken in the Tawaraya’s first floor library, a magnificently beautiful suite of two rooms overlooking an impeccable garden.   Mrs. Toshi Satow, the owner of the 300 hundred-year-old inn, has an amazing eye, and her unerring sense of design is the heart of the beauty of the famous inn.  For generations, The Tawaraya, one of the jewels of Japan, has hosted luminaries in the fields of politics, the arts, and entertainment.

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The doorway between the ante room and the library is very low, and you have to bend down to enter the library itself.   Notice the beautiful, kasuri zabuton (cushions) and the rug.  These are the work of the textile artist Jun Tomita, the acclaimed Kyoto artist whose work was shown at the Museum of Modern Art‘s now-famous 1990 “Structure and Surface” exhibition which surveyed the best of Japan’s textile artists.

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Perfection.

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