A Mysteriously Beautiful Length of Old Paper: Woodblock Printed Images

$295.00 USD

late nineteenth century
69" x 13 3/4", 175 cm x 35 cm

The original use of this intriguing length of supple, long laminated paper is unclear.

It seems that however it was used it was probably suspended in a U shape--the positioning of the kanji or Chinese characters on either end and the symmetrically placed charming wood block prints set in mirror formation indicate this was the case.

It is a stumper: what was this? And why would there be six hand colored woodblock images cut out and arranged as they are?

The length is made of several layers of paper and as mentioned above it is supple and flexible. The dark, reddish-brown color is the result of the paper being stained in kaki shibu or green persimmon tannin: aside from strengthening fibers it also helps to waterproof paper and cloth.

It is hard to describe the indescribable so please pour over the photos here to enjoy the details of this otherwise unique length of hand made paper. Three of the woodblock images are shown upside-down as this is how they appear on the surface of the paper.

Enigmatic and recommended.