Katazome, the use of a stencil as part of a process of paper and cloth dyeing, traces its roots, as do so many arts and crafts in East Asia, to the "Middle Kingdom" - China.

Here, we are concerned with its appearance and employment in Japan. Early on, during the Nara period (late 8th century), the stencils themselves appear to have been carved from wood. Examples remain at Hōryūji Temple, etc. But, eventually, paper became the preferred tool for stencilling.

The use of stencils and takuhon rubbings may well be older than the employment of carved wood block hangi to create prints, books and reproductions. Indeed, much later, the earliest color-printed works in both China and Japan in the 17th and 18th century often were colored mostly using stencilling techniques.

So, it is delightful to find wonderful examples of brightly colored, mingei folk art-inspired, katazome stencil-printed books still being created in the recent past in Japan. Often inspired by folk stencilling like the remarkable bingata patterning of Okinawa, they created a new aesthetic world in the latter half of the 20th century.

Such artists and scholars of dyeing techniques as Gotō, Serizawa, Kamakura, Okamura, Kanzaki and others employed katazome to produce wonderful prints and artist's books, which were issued by such publishers as Gohachi Shobō in Tōkyō. Artists famous in other media, like Sekino Junichirō, also experimented with katazome and produced masterpieces of the genre.

We are presenting here a small list of works, mostly done in that post-War period, which include some of the most significant productions in the medium.

You might also note that we have virtually the entire "toolset" of hand-cut katagami paper, many thousands of them, from the remains of a Kyōto dyeing house. It makes a fascinating and illustrative record of technique and product from the world of traditional Japanese design and textile dyeing.

Please enjoy the descriptions below, and don't forget to click on the thumbnail images to see selections from the works. There are treasures within!

Charles Vilnis

Elizabeth Fragala

初春

令和二年

 
初春
令和二年

 

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90493. Gotō Seikichirō 後藤清吉郎. Kami no Tabi 紙の旅.Showa 39 [1964]. Tokyo. Bijutsu Shuppansha.Large oblong folio in washi covers, 33.5 x 44.3 cm. #261 of 300cc. Illustrated beautifully in katazome throughout. The illustrations as well as the text are by Gotō, a fine artist as well as one of the most eminent scholars of Japanese papermaking. Besides the textual illustrations there are a large number of full page color prints which are lovely indeed. Paper samples are tipped in, the book is printed on handmade paper, bound in it and enclosed in it, as the clasped case is washi over boards, as well. The text, in Japanese, is scholarly, succinct and informative. All in all, a truly remarkable work. A near fine copy, perhaps the cleanest and freshest we have seen.

$1,950.00

 

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90083. KAMAKURA Yoshitarô & Kamakura Shizue, artists. RYUKYU BINGATA & RYUKYU BINGATA Dai Nishû. Kyoto: Kyoto Shoin. Two huge cloth portfolios, the earlier, 62.5 x 49.5 cm, issued in 1957 as a limited edition (unspecified limitation) of all 20 bingata stencil prints on lovely handmade paper, but without the small stenciled plate originally laid onto the absent title page and without the portfolio cover. It was printed by Kamakura Yoshitarô (1898-1983) and his wife, Shizue. The second portfolio is approximately the same size, again with 20 large prints, and a laid down plate on the title page, as well as a stenciled cloth image laid down on the outside of the portfolio. It was printed in an edition of only 10 copies in 1967, created by Kamakura, assisted in this effort by his daughter.

Kamakura himself was a great scholar of Okinawan art and a master of the Okinawan technique of stencil printing, related to katazome, called bingata. As such he was recognized by the Japanese government as a Living National Treasure. These are undoubtedly his central masterpieces, created when he was at the height of his powers, in such tiny numbers as to render this complete series in our possession for all intents and purposes, virtually unique. The prints are clean and quite amazing. The most important artifact of the folk art print movement we have ever handled.

$12,500.00

 

 

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90490. KANZAKI ONJUN 神埼温順, printmaker. SHOHYÔSHÛ KAZE. One of 15 house copies, signed by Kanzaki, printed after the distributed edition of 50 copies. So, #58 of 65, inscribed to Imamura Hidetarou. Shôwa 58 [1983]. 22 x 16 cm. With 15 tipped in katazome stencil printed bookplates. The orihon folding album is illustrated in black and white besides. The bookplates are wonderfully simple and powerful, the book illustrations depict old-fashioned lamps in various forms, a favorite subject of Kanzaki's.. Very good. In the original wraround with printed title slip.

$425.00

 

 

 

 

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90491. [KATAZOME] Kanzaki ONJUN 神埼温順, artist. RANPU [Rinpyô] 洋燈 1 vol. 23.0 x 16.1 cm, Tôkyô, Gohachi, Shôwa 59 [1984]. 50 copies were distributed, plus there were "house copies" that were given to friends. This is thus numbered #58. A counterpoint of Kanzaki's designs for lamps facing pages of designs for matchbox labels in one volume (there was an absent companion volume with a similar design for bookplates done at the same time by Kanzaki.. In his colorful style. Near new in the original slipwrappers.

$350.00

 

 

 

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84354. [KATAZOME] KANZAKI Onjun 神埼温順. TOKI TO NINGYO TO. Horita Ryôhei, n.p. [Osaka?], Shôwa 61 [1986]. 16.3 x 22.2 cm. Designed, printed and colored by Onjun in his katazome stencil medium. Number 49 of only 50 copies of this lovely book bound in orihon folding album style in stiff washi-covered boards and stenciled title label. All in a matching washi handmade paper covered clasped folding chitsu box. A lovely presentation of this artist's book in perfect condition. The subject of the 18 full page illustrations (and facing page text) is dolls and timepieces.

$485.00

 

 

 

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90488. [KATAZOME] OKAMURA Kichiemon 岡村吉右衛門. NARADA NO TAFU 奈良乃太布. Shôwa 35 [1960]. String-bound Japanese-style, privately printed in 50 copies. 31.1 x 19.7 cm., Okamura (1916-2002) was a student of Serizawa Keisuke and embraced his interest in traditional Japanese folk arts, papermaking and stencil printing (katazome). This lovely monograph on Japanese bark-cloth from the town of Narada in Yamanashi Prefecture has two samples and is illustrated throughout with colorful and lively katazome. Signed by the author and artist, Okamura. Fine condition, in the original folding case with printed title label. 

$650.00 

 

 

 

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90487. Okamura Kichiemon 岡村吉右衛門. Date Moniwa no Shinanuno 伊達茂庭之榀布. N.p. Shōwa 35 [1960]. 30.4 x 20.8 cm. One of 200 copies, signed by Okamura. (Other reading of title is Date Moniwa no Shinanuno.) Tipped-in fabric sample approx 17 x 9.5cm. The work, printed in stencil in color on handmade paper is string-bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Okamura was Serizawa's most important student and excelled at producing compelling livre d'artiste in the early post-War years. Very fine in the original publisher's wraparound case. 

$750.00

 

 

 

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90444. OKAMURA Kichiemon 岡村吉右衛門, artist. MOJI EGOYOMI 文字絵暦. Tôkyô, Gohachi, Heisei 2 [1990]. 38.6 x 27.0 cm. #4 of 50 printed. Signed by Okamura. Large Orihon folding album with 13 hand-printed katazome color stencil prints by Okamura. Like new, complete in a chitsu clasped publisher's titled case. An advance sheet for its publication is laid in.

$850.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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89383. OKAMURA Kichiemon 岡村吉右衛門, artist. SAITORO-SASHI NO UTA. Privately printed. Shôwa 36 [1961]. 30.4 x 19.6 cm. Includes an english- language pamphlet with a translation of the text, produced by Far Eastern Booksellers of Tôkyô in 1961. The work, printed in stencil in color on handmade paper is string-bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Okamura was Serizawa's most important student and excelled at producing compelling livre d'artiste in the early post- War years. Very fine in the original publisher's wraparound case.                                                                     

$850.00

 

 

 

 

 

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90483. OKAMURA Kichiemon 岡村吉右衛門, artist. TOKUJIRÔ SHÔGYÔ. Privately printed. Shôwa 35 [1960]. 29.9 x 21.3 cm. One of 100 copies, signed by Okamura. The work, printed in stencil in color on handmade paper is string-bound, Japanese-style, fukuro-toji. Okamura was Serizawa's most important student and excelled at producing compelling livre d'artiste in the early post-War years. Very good in the original publisher's wraparound case.

$650.00

 

 

 

 

 

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89152. OKUMURA Kitchizaemon 岡村吉右衛門, artist. MUTSUGAMI ZANBÔROKU: WASURE NO KOSARESHI MUTSUGAMI NO HANASHI. Shôwa 34 [1959]. 30.0 x 21.3 cm. String-bound, Japanese-style. Stencil printed with textual illustrations on records of hand papermaking from the provinces of the far north in Japan. One of 50 copies printed. About fine condition in the original publisher's folding case.

$675.00

 

 

 

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90396. Okamura Kichiemon 岡村吉右衛門. Nōtō Gōshū Bandani 農陶江州伴谷. 昭和33年(1958). Folio of 6 stencil prints 33.5 x 28cm on Japanese paper plus one stenciled title page in a case 35 x 30cm. Limited edition of 100. 

Original stencils in dark blue, medium blue and yellow in the traditional mingei style depicting the tasks of Japanese village dwellers as they go about their daily lives and create farming pottery.

Okamura was a student of the Living National Treasure and well-known Mingei artist Serizawa Keisuke.

$600.00

 

 

 

 

 

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89204. [PAPER, JAPANESE]. Mingei-gami KUREHA. [Kyôto] Showa 32 [1957] Oblong folio, in brocade covers with printed paper title label, 25.9 X 40.3 cm, oblong. There are 30 pages of silk-mounted paper samples of color stencil-dyed patterned paper, one or two to a page. In a tied chitsu folding box. Superb quality. For all intents and purposes, a lost art.

$750.00

 

 

 

 

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86399. [PAPER SAMPLES]. TÔSEI SHINKOMON HONCHÔ. String-bound, Japanese -style, fukuro-toji. 28 X 21 cm, with 138 designs on 23 pages (6 per page). Stencil-printed "komon" designs. The blindstamped patterned covers are lovely and subtle. Interesting, skillfully printed tiny repeating pattern designs of white dots on black. Overall the condition is about good.

$950.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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89485. [Papermaking, Korean] Gotô Seikichirô. KANKOKU NO KAMI. Tokyo, Gohachi, Shôwa 55 [1980]. Orihon folding album (24 x 18.3 cm) in block-printed paper covers. Number 12 of a limited edition of 150 copies and is signed and sealed by Gotô, certainly the most important historian of East Asian papermaking in the post-war era. It is one of the few works ever done on Korean papermaking, and is the third in a three part series on Asian papermaking undertaken by Gotô in the late 1970's, though it is complete in itself. The book contains one paper sample, 21 stencilled plates, and informative text (in Japanese) all on lovely rough brown handmade paper. It is as new in a printed white paper covered folding case.

$550.00

 

 

 

 

 

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86322. [PAPERMAKING] SERIZAWA Keisuke. KAMI WO TSUKURU HITOTACHI. Privately printed by Serizawa in Shôwa 25 [1950] in an edition of 50 copies. 30 x 28 cm. 7 pages, katazome prints in wrappers with a printed paper title label. Enclosed in a hand printed folding cover which is a work of art in itself. Obviously a very scarce production, this copy has been scrupulously restored. Overall condtion is now very good.

$1,850.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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90412. Portfolio Collection by Satō Kōichi 佐藤晃一. These portfolios were purchased in Kyoto, probably about a decade ago. The innocence and assurance of their creator was puzzling, though not due to the skill, which is considerable, as Satō Kōichi 佐藤晃一 became a very well-known graphic artist and poster designer who was enormously influential in international art circles in the 60s and 70s. But puzzling because these portfolios date to years before he went to art school. Incredibly, the portfolios were published from 1960-63, when he was just 16 to 19 years old.

7 unbound design presentations, each in a chitsu, with loose pages of textile designs, likely kimono or obi, from the early 1960s. Paper sheets and heavier presentation boards display a range of artistic techniques, including collage, stencil, offset lithography, laid-on glitter and metallic pigments. This lovely grouping of abstract and stylized designs represents a Japanese perspective on modern design meeting traditional craft during the late Showa period. A rich collection of original source material that is as much art as it is design.

$6,000.00

 

 

 

 

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89211. SERISAWA Keisuke, artist. KATAZOME SHÔHINSHÛ 1. Osaka, Moriguchi Tarô, 1954, Shôwa 30 [1955]. 27 x 22.7. Mounted katazome stencil prints by their most famous 20th century practitioner. This volume one was printed in an edition of 100 copies. Orihon folding albums in stiff cover. The books themselves are very good, no slipcase. The "shôhinshû" collection of small works (exlibris, matchbook covers and the like) eventually ran to 4 volumes.

$450.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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89321. SERIZAWA Keisuke, artist. KATAZOME RINBYÔ, 2 vols. Tôkyô, Gohachi. #134 of 230 copies. 2 folding albums, 18.2 x 15.0 cm., 81 wonderful colored stencil designs, formatted to a size and shape appropriate to matchbox covers. Serizawa again illustrates his skills in design. In perfect condition, in the original clasped clamshell box and outer publisher's box.

$650.00

 

 

 

 

 

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89241. SERIZAWA Keisuke, artist. SHIKIBA Ryûzaburô, author. MINGEI TO SEIKATSU. Tôkyô, Shôwa 19 [1944]. Privately published by the author and printed in Tôkyô before the disastrous air raids to come. Bound Western-style, 26.8 x 19.0 cm., printed on over 400 pages of wonderful Japanese hand-made paper, with many illustrations by Serizawa. Copy number 32 of the edition of 100 copies. Signed by Shikiba, a noted figure in Mingei folk art circles. The preface notes that this privately printed edition of FOLK ART AND LIFE was made possible by the procurement of the deluxe paper through the good offices of a friend. The "trade" edition which appeared in 1943 had been produced on such bad wartime stock that the Serizawa illustrations had been skipped and are here restored. Aside from a crease on the FFEP, an almost perfect copy, with the original plain dustwrapper, and the publisher's box. Remarkable production from the last days of the War.

$1,200.00

 

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90568. Serizawa Keisuke 芹沢銈介. Serizawa Keisuke Tebikaejō 芹沢銈介手控帖. Showa 44 [1969]. Tokyo. Kyūryūdō 求龍堂, publisher. 28 x 26.5cm album with paper-covered boards is housed in a fabric-covered clamshell box 30.1 x 25.8cm with title stamped on box spine. Stored in a cardboard box 32 x 30.5cm with printed title label. This copy is number 3 of only 5 author copies from a total edition of 75. One hand-painted work on front endpaper. Approx 157 four-color process reproductions of his artist notebooks, including 2 prints on front endpapers, one of which is a hand-colored original. Most are color, with 1 to 3 per page ranging from 5 x 5cm to 20.5 x 16.5cm and printed on deluxe paper. Afterword by the editor Sugimoto Kenkichi 杉本健吉 (1905 - 2000).

Serizawa Keisuke 芹沢銈介 (1895 – 1984) was a master stencil-printing and mingei artist, named a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government in 1956. Post WWII, mimeography and other experimental techniques became popular as a means of artistic expression among Japanese Sōsaku Hanga (Creative Print Movement) artists.

Slight foxing on some pages, otherwise good condition.

$1,250.00

 

 

 

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85883. SERIZAWA Keisuke. YOKUJO, Tokyo, Gallery Gohachi, Shôwa 43 [1968]. #38 of 100cc. 26.6 x 22.5 cm. Yellow paper over board covers. 10 small stencils in Serizawa's inimitable style of women bathing. Hand-stenciled and hand-colored by Serizawa, with his stenciled initials on the title page. In the original red cloth chemise, all in the original outer cardboard box with printed title label. Fine throughout.

$2,500.00

 

 

 

 

 

  

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89267. [STENCIL PRINTING] SERIZAWA Keisuke; YOSHIDA Kogor. KIRISHITAN MONOGATARI. Tôkyô, Gohachi, Shôwa 60 [1985]. Bound Western-style in wrappers, large 26.7 x 26.3 cm album of b+w stencil prints by Serizawa illustrating a brief text by Yoshida, a famous scholar and historian. Pictorial vignettes of the 16th century introduction of Christianity to feudal Japan. One of 200 copies. In about new condition, in the original wraparound cover with a printed paper title label and shipping slipcase.

$450.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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90489. [STENCIL PRINTS] OKAMURA Kichizaemon. ZAYÛ SANBÔ NO SHÔ, 3 vols. 32.2 x 20.4 cm. Privately published in 100 copies by Okamura, a remarkably talented and prolific artist and scholar, who recorded the arts and crafts of postWar Japan using the stencil techniques of katazome dyeing on beautiful washi hand-made paper. This set is very unusual, one of his most extensive and lavish productions. All three volumes are present, each signed, issued over the course of 1955 into 1956. Without the original clasped chitsu case with printed paper title label. Slight dustsoiling to the covers, else very good and very unusual.

$1,150.00

 

  

 

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89830. [STENCIL-PRINTING] OKAMURA Kichiemon. MINÔ KAMISUKI ISOMURA. Shôwa 33 [1958]. 34.6 x 28.5 cm, Privately printed, #12 of 30 special edition copies of 100 copies printed, total. Contains 6 full page stencil prints by Okamura. Quite a bit larger than his usual productions in scale. An unusual title by this important scholar/artist of Mingei, paper and fabric. Fine condition overall, as issued with the small bi-lingual explanation sheet.

$550.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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90580. Katazome Archive. The group of katazome we are offering here represent the working "toolset" of a venerable textile dyeing company in Kyoto, Tôshô Ltd.. The numbers herewith are approximate, but getting pretty close to accurate. There are some 6,863 individual handcut katazome stencils which form at least 300 separate pattern sets. The weight of the sheets comes to some 750 pounds! Most of those pattern sets of stencils are numbered with the order of application which would create the finished design and some sheets have color indications, as well. There are even a few colored paper stencilled samples of designs included, as well. Since these are working sets, some individual stencils are much older than others and some have repairs, etc. to keep them usable.

This represents a perhaps unique opportunity to preserve and understand the process of stencil dyeing in Japan in a practical fashion. The purchaser might consider digitizing the individual images as sets for eventual computer-aided recreation of the entire working design inventory of an important Japanese dyeing house.

Price upon request.