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"Double Bird" Vintage Katagami Stencil

"Double Bird" Vintage Katagami Stencil

Tenugui Size

Regular price $75.00
Regular price $75.00 Sale price $75.00
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  • Ships from NY
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Sourced from Japan
This vintage - possibly antique - katagami stencil was likely used to create tenugui - Japanese cotton hand towels.

This stencil is a mystery to us. The large cut-out shape in the middle seems birdlike...? But there is a feathery bird in the center, perched on a thin branch. And is that the sun or the moon as an imperfect circle behind the bird?

There is some rough, crumpled edging below the bird (see photo) but this would not impact the stencil if used and even adds a bit of wabi sabi to the piece if it were to be framed.

Tenugui have been made for decades as sight-seeing souvenirs or as promotional or thank-you gifts given by companies, municipalities, banks and the like to employees and patrons. Tenugui stencils are much like the ones used to make kimono, but these are longer and each is used to make a full length tenugui. The dye process is also different from kimono fabric dyeing - see the video below for a fascinating look into this traditional craft.

Katagami are cut by hand, either with a free-hand knife or a sharp and tiny punch tool. They are made from one or two sheets of heavy washi paper covered with persimmon tannin to add strength and moisture resistance. (For delicate designs, two sheets of paper were stacked and cut together, then a thin silk screen was placed between them before fusing the papers together with the tannin.)

Nowadays, more durable plastic versions are used, but these older paper stencils are often still usable in addition to being a work of art. See photo example of a framed stencil. Email us if you'd like cost and dimension details on how we had this custom-framed.

Enjoy the video below that shows how these stencils are designed, cut, and used to make tenugui. We also recommend this book, Carved Paper by Suzanna Campbell Kuo, as one of the best English reference books on katagami.
Length: 48" (approximate)
Width: 18" (approximate)
Made In (Estimated): 1950s
Condition: Very Good Vintage
Fiber: Washi Paper
Technique: Hand Cut
Colors: Dark Brown
Motifs: Bird, Animal


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