An Elaborately Carved and Lacquered Itajime Board: Channel Back

$245.00 USD

late nineteenth century
8 1/2" x 18 1/2", 21.5 cm x 47 cm

Offered here is a hand carved board used in the kyoukechi or itajime process used to create figured cloth.like this example here.

Kyokechi or 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 of boards set in mirror image contains the entire bolt which is fed 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.

Sometimes boards are carved and fitted with drilled holes which let dye in in  specific areas as is the case of the one offered here.

These relief carved boards would be clamped face-to-face and the raised areas would meet when clamped, and would resist dye. Here we see these areas in relief are stained a lacquered black color.

This particular board shows a pattern of beautifully rendered leaves and cherry blossoms, the surface of the front of the board is lacquered. On the back of the board you can see an imprint of the pattern.

The board is carved in good relief and is expertly done. A wonderful opportunity to own a not-easy-to-find textile artifact from old Japan. 

Very recommended.