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Two Beautiful Itajime Dyed Han Juban: Hemp Leaf and Cherry Blossoms

Written on November 14, 2010

On my previous post, situated just below this one, I showed hand carved wooden boards used in the kyokechi or itajime dyeing process.  Have a quick look at the previous post to learn a bit about this process which uses carving and pressure as an agent for resist in the dyeing process.

The same kind of boards shown below, and the same process described in the previous post, were used to dye these two cotton han juban or half under kimonos which date to the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. The pattern shown above and below may already be familiar to you as it is a very popular, traditional Japanese design motif: it is the asa no ha or hemp leaf pattern.  If you notice the red horizontal lines within the repeat pattern, this will show the limit of width of the single, carved board and this is where the design repeat occurs.

And of course, sakura, or the beloved cherry blossom motif.  Again, notice the bars of red which show the repeat.

Most likely these two han juban are not dyed in botanical dyes.  The cotton is hand woven, and the garment is hand sewn.  Still, I find each of these graphically beautiful and very stimulating to the eye–and terrifically bold examples of kyokechi dyeing.

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