Sakura Pattern (さくら模様)

Designer: Hakamada Sekka | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Ayumi Ohashi

Paper size: 11cm by 15cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? ( Change 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.

The book seems to have been conceived primarily as a purely decorative object, to either entertain or bring pleasure. And key to this pleasure is re-creation of the environment in which woodblock prints were traditionally viewed, more specifically - the lighting conditions. The print you have in your hand is absolutely not suited to a modern living environment - a bright room with light coming down from the ceiling. Please try a little experiment. Turn off the bright room illumination and take this print near a north-facing window. There - under the horizontal cast of a natural light - there, you will see the way that the delicate pigments have tinted the white paper, and of course you will vividly see that this is not a ‘picture’, but rather a sculpture!

This is what we are excited about when we talk about the beauty of the Japanese woodblock print!

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