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Archives for May, 2012

A Thick, Stenciled Paper 19th Century Box Cover: Clothing-Like Closures

May 29, 2012

Shown here today is a 19th century thick paper box cover which is seen folded shut on the photo above.  Below, you can see the box cover which is partially opened–when fully opened, it becomes a five-sided cube.  There is no bottom as this paper cover, or yutan, was meant to “dress” a box as can be seen on this link here.

The front of the yutan looks very similar to a garment what with its cotton detailing and two closures, which is not dissimilar to that of a coat or jacket.The yutan is composed of two layers of thick paper that are hand stitched together.  The interior is stained with a traditional Japanese dyestuff, kaki shibu or green persimmon tannin.  The exterior seems to be colored by a kind of paint or pigment.Below the yutan is partially opened again to give a view of its see its two side “walls.”  Like on the first photo on this post, above, which is the proper “back wall” of the box cover, a stenciled family crest showing stylized oak leaves, dominates.This old yutan does in fact open fully, however it’s brittle from age, so I didn’t force it open for the photo, below.  When folded shut, as shown in the first photo, the size is 19″ x 10″ or 48 cm x 25.5 cm.

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A Group of Thickly Textured Folk Obis

May 22, 2012

Notice I didn’t entitle this post “A Group of Sakiori Obis.”  At first glance this kind of thickly woven, richly textured obi is assumed to be made of ragweave (called sakiori).  Often such obis are of ragweave, but you have to look closer to see if this is the case.Among this group there are obis with a cotton warp and a rag weft.  But in other cases thick yarn is used to feed the weft, which gives the appearance that the obi is sakiori.And in the case of the white and orange obi, above, this is woven from a warp of silk or rayon (probably rayon) and a weft of paper.  Like most of these obis, the paper weft obi dates to the mid twentieth century.This is a  nice group–and they look good together.

I’ve sold a few from the original group which I found in March in Japan, and I will be offering these on the webshop over time.    As I rarely see affordable and attractive sakiori-style obis in Japan anymore, I was quite pleased to have come upon this many good looking obis.

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