ボタン模様 (Peony Pattern)

Designer: Hakamada Sekka | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Rei

Size: 15cm by 11cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 40.00£ 32.25€ 36.75

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Description: This image dates from Showa 11 (1936), and is taken from a beautiful book published that year with a title that might be translated as ‘Thinking About New Patterns’, containing patterns designed by Hakamada Sekka.

Unlike many pattern books, this one does not seem to be specifically aimed at providing ideas for craftsmen in any particular genre - kimono design, pottery, etc. - but seems rather to have been aimed at a general readership. I say ‘readership’, but there is not a word of text in the entire volume; simply we see page after page of beautifully executed designs, laid out in absolutely perfect arrangements, and all conceived in a most ‘playful’ style.

This is an excellent example of how the Japanese print differs in fundamental philosophy from most western work in the genre. The history of printmaking in the west is an adventure in political and social commentary. The printmaker - and frequently the designer and maker were the same person - had an agenda to push forward, and making his image in multiples was a means to that end.

But on the Japanese side - where the designer and maker(s) were different people - the print was conceived primarily as a decorative object, to either entertain or bring pleasure.

And who among us can’t enjoy this beautiful object!

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