Edo Patterns

. Edo shokunin 江戸の職人 Edo craftsmen .

Patterns of the Edo Period

The Pattern "Kama wa nu"
This design is based on a pun with words

kama the sickle
wa the circle
nu meaning not

kamawanu is a negative verb form, 構わない、かまわない kamawanai, meaning "I don't mind, I don't care".

This pattern was a favorite of the Kabuki actor Danjuro, the Naritaya.
It comes on Yukata bath robes, tenugui towles and furoshiki wrapper cloths.




Tenugui, thin hand towel

"KAMAWANU" means "we may not give you special service, but you are always welcome.".


Another difficult to explain pattern is the

Kikugoro lattice, kikugoroo gooshi 菊五郎格子

Kikugoro the third was a famous kabuki actor.

The pun comes in the four parts
菊五郎(divided into : キ 九 五 呂)

KI katakana sign キ
KU meaning nine (counting the lines in the pattern)
GO meaning five
RO : furo no RO

Another version of a pun with KIKUGORO


yoki koto o kiku, to hear a good thing

yoki meaning ax 斧
koto meaning the musical intsrument 琴
kiku meaning the flower chrysanthemum 菊


And one more difficult pun :

Eye of a whale 鯨の目

This is a play of words with the proverb: mekujira o tateru
目くじらを立てる, lit. "the whale of your eye is standing upright"
to find fault easily with another person.
Maybe, to rise your eyebrows comes a bit close.

When you hold the towel horizontally, you do not find fault ! Your whale can not stand up.

Check this page for more !


Now back to Kamawanu and a Daruma !


Other wrappers from this store with Daruma as a pattern


Isetatsu, a Great Wrapper Collection


More of my articles about this :

Puns, dajare 駄洒落 ダジャレ, だじゃれ

Puzzle pictures, Rebus of Old Edo, hanji-e 判じ絵

Kabuki Theater, Japan


................ H A I K U

KAMAWANU ... haiku by Issa

kore hodo no tsuki ni kamawanu ko ie kana

taking no notice
of such a moon...
little house

shôgatsu no kuru mo kamawanu hotabi kana

paying no heed
that spring is coming...
the wood fire

zoku-zoku to hito no kamawanu kinoko kana

one by one
ignored by people...

yuku haru ni sashite kamawanu karasu kana

paying no attention
to the departing spring...

Tr. David Lanoue


. asa no ha 麻の葉 hemp leaf pattern .

CLICK for more photos !

Edo komon 江戸小紋 small fine patterns of Edo

- quote
History of Edo Komon
The origin of the Edo komon goes back to the Muromachi period. Originally, the Edo komon was used for leather parts or kamons on armors. It is estimated that it was in the late Muromachi period when the Edo komon was started to be used for dyeing clothes including ordinary armors. The Edo komon was developed and widely spread in the early Edo period, when dyeing kamishimo (formal cloth of samurai) started. As the development of merchants’ culture in the mid Edo period, the komon has become widely accepted by general public beyond rank and time barriers up to the present day.
- Techniques of Edo Komon Craftsmen
- Techniques of Ise Katagami Craftsmen
tsukibori / kiribori / dogubori - gottori / shimabori
- - - - - The Edo komon has been handed down to generations by successors who have highly developed senses and techniques cultivated in a long tradition.
Edo komon ryomenzome
Ryomenzome (two-sided dyeing) is originated from summer kimono called “ro.”
It started with dyeing each side of one piece texture with different pattern and color.
Because the “r” texture is thin and sheer, it requires high skills.
Ryomenzome became possible by “shigokizome,” one of the unique dyeing techniques of the Edo komon.
Shigokizome, a technique that dyes with “starch,” dyes and dries only the surface of the texture.
By dyeing the back side of the texture after the surface is completely dry, shigokizome can avoid dye compounds penetrating to the other side of the texture.
This can be said as one of the unique technique of hand dyeing.
source : www.komonhirose.co.jp/en

- quote
Edo komon 江戸小紋 Stencil (paper pattern) dyeing.
As the patterns are fine and of single color, the dyed fabrics look plain.
- source : www.kimono.or.jp/dictionary

- quote
It is said that Komon was originally a mold-dye for creating very intricate patterns.
Edo Komon, with roots in the traditional samurai garb, is included with Kyoyuzen and Kagayuzen as one of the 3 major pattern dyes of Japan.
The major characteristic of Edo Komon is that, from far away, it looks like a plain pattern. If one were to take a closer look at it, you would find a breath-taking delicate pattern.
- source : www.jcrafts.com/eg/shop

One of the small patterns is the
uroko 鱗(うろこ)fish scale pattern

- source : dearbooks.cafe.coocan.jp/wagara


katatsukeshi 型付師 pattern maker for Edo komon
There were three different types of patterns,
the large, middle and small size (komon). The middle size was mostly used for Yukata.
The washi paper (katagami 型紙) was usually hand-made in Mino and prepared with kakishibu 柿渋 "persimmon dye" .
Three or four layers of this paper were glued together to make it strong.
Next the
katahori shokunin 型堀職人 pattern carver
begun his work

source : thecovernippon.jp
江戸小紋型付実演 - Exhibition 2014

katatsuke, kata-tsuke 型付 pattern stamping, pattern dyeing
with paper templates and a special glue

- quote -
伊勢型紙  Ise-Katagami
Ise-katagami is a Japanese traditional handicraft handed down for about 1.000 years in Mie Prefecture. Katagami is Japanese paper stencil patterns for kimono. Kimono stencil has been called Ise-Katagami because it was made primarily in Ise province (present-day Mie Prefecture) and the stencil paper making was protected by the Kishu domain in the Edo period (1603-1868) as the industry of the domain’s outland territory. They were sold all over Japan by itinerant traders called Ise Merchants.

Ise kimono stencil is made of Japanese washi paper with a persimmon stringent liquid, onto which elaborate and elegant kimono patterns are hand-carved. They are mainly used for dyeing kimono such as Yuzen, Yukata and Komon. Today they are also used for drawing patterns on pottery ware, glass ware, and goza-mats as well as for the background mon-gara patterns for newspaper names.

伊勢型紙 糸入れ Ise-katagami ito-ire 
Itoire Technique of Ise-Katagami

Itoire (literally meaning “thread insertion”) is a technique employed in the making of Ise-katagami (paper stencil patterns), which is a traditional handicraft handed down in Mie Prefecture. Ise kimono stencil is made of Japanese washi paper with a persimmon stringent liquid, onto which elaborate and elegant kimono patterns are hand-carved.

In the case of patterns such as stripes, where there are substantial spaces between the uncut areas of the stencil, threads are fixed to the stencils to strengthen them and prevent movement during use, which technique is called “itoire.”

As itoire is an elaborate technique to require a long period of training and painstaking efforts, successors of this technique are decreasing in number and the technique using silk gauze (called “sha-bari”) are now replacing it. The itoire craftsperson Mie Jonokuchi was designated as a Living National Treasure together with 5 other Ise-katagami craftspeople in 1955; regrettably all have passed away now.
- source : nippon-kichi.jp/article -

. Ise katagami 伊勢型紙 Ise pattern paper from Suzuka .

source : someichie.jp/hpgen



. Edo shokunin 江戸の職人 Edo craftsmen .




Anonymous said...

Whow, quite a lot of information !
Thanks !

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Edo Yukata 江戸浴衣

Gabi Greve said...

Rediscovered after 125 years in Dresden:
the world’s richest resource of Japanese stencils for dyeing samurai kimonos!

- exhibition
November 30, 2014 to February 22, 2015

An exhibition by Wolfgang Scheppe with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in the Japanisches Palais.

A treasure trove of Japanese craftsmanship has been rediscovered. For
125 years it layed undisturbed in the storage depot of the
Kunstgewerbemuseum at Schloss Pillnitz: 92 cases containing more than
15,000 katagami dye stencils for textile printing, never been
displayed and remained unknown beyond the confines of the museum’s
collection. In this rich resource, Dresden possesses the world’s most
extensive holdings of katagami designs. Now, for the first time
ever, a selection of 140 of these hand-made, mulberry-tree bark paper
sheets, finely cut using highly refined techniques in a lengthy,
painstaking process, are to be shown to the public.

stencils for printing traditional textile patterns, were used
principally for kimono fabrics; as well as geometric ornament, designs
also feature masterfully abstracted motifs and patterns representing
elements of nature. From the wealth of motifs in the
Kunstgewerbemuseum‘s collection, those depicting aspects of rain, which
has a particularly significant cultural and spiritual role in a country
exposed to monsoon winds and dependent on rice cultivation, have been
specially chosen. The uniformity of tiny falling raindrops also seems to
be reflected in the aesthetic logic of the repetitive structural
designs of the printed pattern repeats. The Designs became more and more
refined as the fabrics for which they were created were increasingly
being produced for use by the samurai nobility for prestige and
ceremonial purposes.


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kappa in a Shop of Stencil-dyed Goods, from the series Collection of Equipment of Merchants (Akinai dôgu shû no uchi)
「御合羽品々」 (合羽品の店に河童)

by Issunshi Hanasato ga 一寸子花里画

Gabi Greve said...

wave patterns of the Edo period

Three Volumes of Traditional Wave Designs
Printed in the ‘Hamonshu’, these patterns were used to adorn swords, ceramics, and other decorative and religious objects.