Japan

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Image features the cover of the 1905 Yamanaka & Co. furnishings trade catalogue covered in green and gold silk brocade and bound on the left with gold silk threads. A vertical rectangular white paper panel with Japanese characters is in the center of the cover. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Japonisme à l’extrème
  This 1905 furniture trade catalog in the  Cooper Hewitt Design Library  is from the renowned Japanese art and antiques firm of Yamanaka & Co. Covered in silk brocade and bound with silk threads according to the ancient Japanese bookbinding technique of Yotsume Toji or stab-binding, it contains 36 photographic plates of elaborately carved, gilded,...
Image features a side chair composed of black tubular steel rods, some diagonally set, bent to form the chair's outline and volume. Please scroll down to read the blog about this object.
Is There a Chair There?
Not every chair immediately presents itself as a chair. Pared down to its basic components, this chair is a study in outline and form. It was part of design firm nendo’s first solo exhibition in England, at the Saatchi Gallery in 2010. Responding to the exhibition theme, “Outlines”, nendo created the Thin Black Lines series of...
Image features a paper printed with cherry blossoms for use in fusuma, the sliding panels in Japanese homes. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this paper.
Falling Through Time
Lithe and resplendent, a maze of branches weaves its way across the composition of this lightly colored fusuma paper. In Japan, fusuma are sliding panels that can serve as walls or doors inside the home. Scattered along each bough are a multitude of delicately rendered flowers whose petals invite the eye to linger on their...
A dark brown paper stencil with a cut-away pattern of triangles joined in lines of two or three.
Martial Iris
In the traditional Japanese craft of katagami, paper stencils are carved by master artisans for use in decorating textiles. Documented since at least the sixteenth century, the technique developed out of methods originally devised for embellishing leather armor. Some common katagami motifs record this history: the stylized iris pattern that appears on this stencil symbolizes bravery....
Length of printed silk with headless figures in three-quarter back view.
Creative Re-use
Author: Andrea Araknow In celebration of the third annual New York Textile Month, members of the Textile Society of America will author Object of the Day for the month of September. A non-profit professional organization of scholars, educators, and artists in the field of textiles, TSA provides an international forum for the exchange and dissemination...
Woman's kimono of white satin with woven design of tiny lozenges, tortoises and phoenixes. Embroidered with silk threads in red, gold and green with cherry blossoms, pine branches, bamboo, phoenix and butterflies. Lined with red silk.
Winter’s Friends
Author: Janine LeBlanc In celebration of the third annual New York Textile Month, members of the Textile Society of America will author Object of the Day for the month of September. A non-profit professional organization of scholars, educators, and artists in the field of textiles, TSA provides an international forum for the exchange and dissemination...
Image features Inrō (container) in form of a turtle, with tail and feet drawn in and head partially extended. Divided into four horizontal compartments fitted into each other and lacquered black on inside. Strung on brown silk cord with turtle-shaped Ojime 1952-164-24 and Netsuke 1952-164-25. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Turtles All the Way Down
Turtle-shaped and strung with carved toggles and cord, this object instantly piques the curiosity of the viewer. The diminutive lacquered wood sculpture is, in fact, a Japanese container, referred to as an inrō, which is composed of separate compartments and held together with a cord. These small containers were often used as medicine boxes, containing...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Promoting American Art
In last month’s Short Story, we attended the weddings of Hewitt sister Amy Hewitt Green and that of her daughter Eleanor Margaret Green, who became Princess Viggo of Denmark. This month, researcher Josephine Rodgers discusses the introduction of American drawing into Cooper Hewitt’s collection through the work of Robert Frederick Blum. Margery Masinter, Trustee, Cooper...
Take Me to Paradise
“One of my motives for becoming a graphic designer,” said the Japanese designer, Tadanori Yokoo, “was to make tourist posters. As a result, all my pieces end up looking like tourist posters. The only thing is that these posters are about places that don’t exist on earth. They may be about a lost paradise.”[1] Tadanori...