katagami inspires me

My nemesis Procrastination has exerted its influence this morning and I found myself picking through old bookmarks in search of inspiration. I found this link to a Japanese Arts and Culture Magazine called Kateigaho : International Edition whose 2005 feature on katagami re-captured my imagination.
Katagami are Japanese paper stencils from the Nara Period, 710 - 794 AD. [ let's review, that's nearly 1300 years ago ! ]. Created using a variety of tiny blades and tools in the dogu-bori method, these stencils were used to apply designs with dye to leather goods for itinerant traders. They developed into use for dying kimono fabrics like yukata, a single layer cotton fabric. The image of the carp above is one such example, "the carp has long been praised as an auspicious creature, often appearing in old axioms such as 'a carp climbing up the waterfall to become a dragon,' which signifies success or promotion in Japan." .

How incredible ! I am just astounded at the craftmanship and intricacy.
I wonder if I was Japanese in a previous life ?!

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