'Botan' (Peony) and 'Chou' (Butterfly) first katagami stencil, 1810-1867
stencil height: 155mm
stencil width: 335mm
This Katagami has ‘Gara boshi’, cut out signs, indicating that it is part of a set, usually two, called ‘Nimai-gata’. The high skill and quality two-piece ‘Nimai-gata’ stencil sets may be used for complicated design patterns. Both Katagami will have identical 'Gara boshi'. Both are needed to dye the complete design. This is the first stencil to be applied, called ‘Omo-gata’. 'Botan' (Peony) pattern symbolizes blossoming happiness and wealth, because it develops into a beautiful large flower of large wheels from a small round bud. The Botan pattern for women was admired for the overlapping petals, plump and blooming, making them feel not only glamorous but also rich in the late Edo period (1780-1867). Therefore it was popularly used in the costumes of Oiran Geisha. Wearing second hand Botan kimono was popular among common people during the late Edo period (1780-1867). Chou (Butterfly) is one of the most popular patterns in Japanese culture, often seen on Japanese Kimonos and textiles. For the Japanese people, the butterfly has many spiritual, symbolic and artistic meanings. When the era of Ukiyo-e woodblock cuts came along during the middle to the late of Edo period (1692-1868), the butterfly quickly became a popular subject for the Ukiyo-e artists. Many Ukiyo-e Peony and Butterfly design Kimono prints were produced by the artists, which in turn promoted the pattern for Oiran geisha costumes. This is one of around 400 Japanese katagami stencils which are part of the Silver Studio Collection. The stencils were produced in Japan as a way of applying patterns to fabric, mainly kimonos. The katagami collected by the Silver Studio were used by their designers as reference material to produce their own Japanese-inspired patterns.