A Burned Hand Carved Itajime Board: Complex Images

$145.00 USD

late nineteenth century
9" x 18 1/2", 23 cm x 47 cm

Offered here is a lacquered hand carved board used in the itajime process used to create figured cloth like this example here. As can be seen and as is mentioned in the title of this post this board is burned on one end, presumably because of accidental fire.

Itajime is a laborious and ingenious dyeing process using hand carved wooden boards: a full bolt of cloth is clamped under great pressure between the boards. A tall stack contains the entire bolt which is set in between all the boards. The stack holding the cloth is secured and is then lowered into a dye bath: the parts of cloth that are highly pressurized by the raised parts of the boards resist dye.

This board would have been part of a set which was carved in relief and in a group of mirror-images.  These relief carved boards would be clamped face-to-face and the raised areas would meet when clamped, and would resist dye.

This particular board shows an exceedingly complex group of stylized images: the diamond shapes are pine bark, there are butterflies, autumn grasses, sparrows, peonies, bamboo and plum blossoms.

The board is carved in good relief and is expertly done. As is obvious this board shows severe burning to one end and is very slightly bowed or warped.