Campana Brothers Select: Works from the Permanent Collection

Stencil: Kata-gami: Flying Bats

  • Japan, 1780–1830
    Mulberry paper, lacquer made from
    persimmon juice, human hair
    Museum purchase through gift of
    Charles W. Gould, 1939-72-1
    Photo: Matt Flynn

  • In use since the eighth century, kata-gami, or Japanese printing stencils, are laminated sheets of paper pasted together with a sticky resin made from persimmon juice. As the intricate designs are cut, the patterns are held in place with thin silk threads or even human hair. The stencil is then placed on a length of silk or fine cotton, and the color is pressed through onto the fabric. Many of the designs derive from nature, including water and wind currents, plant forms, animals, and birds.

    Even though this kata-gami design depicts flying bats, the superposition of shapes transforms itself into a new pattern, resembling a floral weaving.

Browse the collection: creating texture, entwining, inspiring arrow, morphing nature, quizzical delicacy, solid dreams, whimsy kaleidoscope
The above tags were provided by the Campana Brothers as an alternative way of organizing the objects in the exhibition.