The exhibition was organized and opened by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. It also traveled to the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

An illustrated catalog, the first comprehensive, scholarly study in English of this art, accompanied the exhibition.

CARVED PAPER and the accompanying publication were funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Japan Foundation, the Wallis Foundation, the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies (Kyoto), the Dr. Albert E. and Antoinette Gump Amorteguy Oriental Publications Endowment and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Friends of Asian Art. The presentation of this exhibition at Mingei International Museum was funded in part by the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.

This exhibition featured more than 200 paper patterns used in traditional Japanese resist dyeing. Originally a tool to create beautiful designs on textiles and paper, stencils are now recognized and collected for their own beauty. From a historical standpoint, they are often the only records of early textile designs.

Stencils (katagami) were made from two or more layers of handmade mulberry paper (kozo), often recycled inn registers, real estate records and account books. These were laminated and waterproofed with persimmon tannin and cured with smoke for added stiffness. Delicate, lacy patterns were reinforced with silk threads. Designs were produced by five methods: drill-carving, punch-carving, chisel-carving and two knife techniques, thrust-carving and pull-carving. In stencil dyeing (katazome) the design was placed on the textile, and a resist paste applied to the open areas. When the paste was dry, the fabric was immersed in dye. Eventually, the paste was washed off, and the design remained.

Patterns made by stencil first occurred on leather armor in the Kamakura Period. (1185-1333), and in the 15th and 16th centuries clothing dyed with stencil patterns became the standard for the warrior class. The art reached its zenith during the Edo and Meiji Periods (1600-1912).

Upper Northeast Gallery


On View: Jun 10, 2000 - Oct 01, 2000

Curator: Susan Tai

More Exhibitions