11 7/8 x 16 9/16 in. (30.2 x 42.1 cm)
Medium and Support:
Mulberry paper and hair
Gift of the Women's Council of the Memorial Art Gallery
Location: Not currently on view
Paper stencils were used in Japan for over 500 years to dye almost every type of clothing, from the formal dress of samurai and silk kimono to hemp and cotton work clothing. Their patterns show a vast array of every type of decoration, including stripes, vines, flowers and butterflies. Stencils are made of two or more layers of handmade mulberry paper laminated together and waterproofed. They are then cured with smoke, which gives the paper stiffness and turns it a rich brown. Openwork patterns like this were carved away and then reinforced with a network of fine silk threads sandwiched between the layers of paper.
[Gallery label text, 2006]