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A 19th Century, Recycled and Laminated Paper “Thing”

Written on February 18, 2010

The past holds many mysteries, and this is especially true in trying to understand the function of certain objects that have survived many eras, from an old one to the current one.  This is the case with these laminated paper, large, “slings” shown here today.

PaperThing1Old Japan is not so different than any culture where time has marched on and has left obsolete objects in its wake.  On today’s posting are three fairly large (64″ x 30″/1.6 m x 76 cm ) items that are made of recycled sheets of paper which have been layered and laminated until they have attained the weight of cardboard.  To each is stitched four tabs, two on each short end.  What was the purpose of these?  We’re not sure, but we like the sgraffito, the layers and the texture on each.PaperThing1aMy Japanese source for these items has a long, rich history dealing in folk art; he surmises that these paper objects may have been used in a cottage industry silk manufacture, either for storing materials related to cocoons–or perhaps they acted as some kind of insulation.  Their tabbed ends certainly show that these things were suspended.PaperThing1bThe “drawing” on these papers–the result of laying out pages from recycled books–is evocative of many things: ancient city planning, circuitry–skyscrapers.  Beautiful to look at and to dream upon.PaperThing1c

PaperThing1d

PaperThing1e

PaperThing1f

PaperThing1g

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  1. Comment by velma bolyard:

    these are so strange and beautiful. the whole idea of “what were they for?” reminds me family stories of curtains in my mom’s house growing up in w.va.–newspapers. difference being, or one important difference being, the handmade paper here. how amazing these are!

    February 18, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  2. Comment by marion:

    these are exquisite .. i love the layering of blue lines.. the photos are great, increasing in size, as they do, to allow us to see the objects in more and more detail…

    February 20, 2010 @ 1:05 am