Stencil for maiwai (fisherman’s ceremonial coat)
Paper, silk threads

The Daily Japanese Textile for April 8 depicts a maiwai, a cotton coat worn by fishermen on ceremonial occasions. Today’s image depicts a stencil for a maiwai crest. The stencil consists of a left and right side, each with a margin. The stencil is divided in half to take into account the central seam of the maiwai, which will need to be stitched down without disturbing the design.

The wing feathers are done in both positive and negative, since the tips of the crane’s wings are black. On the crane’s beak and legs are some good examples of the balance between the paper that’s carved away and the paper that’s retained to hold the design together.

The use of silk netting, placed between two layers of identical stencil paper and then sandwiched together, was an innovation that allowed parts of the design to appear to float freely. Above, the comma shape, the left ‘leg’ of the number 8 (八), has been carved completely free of the paper, but stays in place with the netting.

In the banner, the character 伊 (pronounced ee), possibly the first character of the shipowner’s name, is darker than the rest of the paper, and may have been added later, to personalize the generic stencil.