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"Sushi and Sake" Vintage Katagami Stencil

"Sushi and Sake" 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 created tenugui for a sushi restaurant! All of the very stylized kanji are the names of fish, with one looking like an eel, perhaps? The two other design elements - a sake cup and a gourd that would be used to store sake - give the design a fun, almost cartoonish quality.

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: Kanji


Low stock: 1 left

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