Friday, April 11, 2014

All Things Japanese

I've travelled to a lot of places in the world but the one place I haven't been yet is Japan.
Whether it's the bright lights of Tokyo or the calm of tea ceremonies, or the  image of vast hills of blooming ornamental cherry trees... I long to visit this land steeped in ritual and culture.
But for now the best I can do is dream and enjoy the many found things from Japan that I come across in my work. Top of the list for me has to be Kokeshi. Kokeshi are carved wooden dolls that come in all shapes and sizes. Uniquely shaped with no arms or legs and large heads.

 It is believed that kokeshi were "originally made during the middle of the Edo period (1600–1868) to be sold to people who were visiting the hot springs in the north-east of the country." (wikipedia) Traditional Kokeshi can be identified by their artist signatures or by their unique facial characters. 

Beware though, once you start collecting them it's impossible to stop!

Next on my Japan collectibles list is this enameled cigarette case.

These type in particular were popularized after WWII  as tourist gifts. Often they came in sets with a lighter and though they are not rare, they are a fun collectible and are fairly easy to find. Of course they can always be repurposed to hold things other than cigarettes.

 No collection of Japanese things is complete without at least a little paper, folded or otherwise.

I love 70's japanese postcards taken of course with film cameras, (those fuji greens!!) 
books of matches, always the most interesting, one of these has copies of block printed fish on it.
These post cards of a tea Ceremony are my favourite, not old but beautifully printed and frame worthy, and lastly folded paper dolls, the two on the far left are newer book marks.

This week as I was scouring the shelves of my local thrift store I found my final item, a beautiful Japanese laquer vase. I have seen lots of laquerware old, new and otherwise but this one is a first for me. By it's shape and style I'd say it's most likey sixties or seventies. It kind of jumped off the shelf at me and it is so bright and cheerful, I may have to hang on to it for a while.

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