Katagami Stencils

These stencils made for creating kimono fabrics are themselves works of art. Hand-carved with tiny knives or punched with a small awl tool, each was made as one layer of an often complicated and many-layered design. Each stencil (called katagami) was made from heavy, hand-made mulberry paper and coated with persimmon tannin for strength and moisture-resistance. Larger designs or those with floating elements were often stitched with silk threads or a silk screen that reinforced the design. Many of these stencils are still usable, but all of them merit display and admiration.