Matsukawabishi pattern with a square rhombus in ‘Urumi-gata’ style katagami stencil, 1850 - 1880
1850 - 1880
stencil height: 145mm
stencil width: 350mm
The pattern of this Katagami relates to 'Matsu' (Pine) and "Matsu No Ki" (Pine tree) in the late Edo period (1780-1867). Each element has a meaning related to eternal love and signifies good luck to come. There are various kinds of pine patterns, but 'Matsukawabishi' (Bark of pine tree) and 'Miru' (colloq. Sea Pine tree /seaweed; prop. Codium Fragile) are represented in this Katagami. Since the Heian era (794 to 1185), 'Matsu No Ki' became a decoration at the entrance of the house as a sign to invite the New Year god down, a custom which continues to present day. The pattern of ‘Matsukawabishi’ and ‘Miru’ were used for kimono and ceramics as a festive pattern in the late Edo period and were popular among townspeople. The diamond pattern of this Katagami is one of the variations of the traditional Matsukawabishi pattern. The traditional Matsukawabishi pattern is overlapped by two large and small diamonds. However this Matsukawabishi pattern uses a square rhombus in ‘Urumi-gata’ style to represent the jagged appearance of pine needles. The usual use of this style of carving jagged lines is to resemble woven Ikat, called "Kasuri gata" (looks like Kasuri); Kasuri (Ikat) is a woven pattern. Kasuri gata are often used from the late Edo period to the present. In the centre of the Matsukawabishi of this Katagami is Miru. This is a symbol that things will flower in the end, because it opens up at the bottom of the ocean where light hardly hits. Miru pattern was frequently applied to not only dyed kimono but also woven kimono, pottery and porcelain. 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.