Wallet with blotting paper
Rinzu (figured silk), metal, paper
Shibori, embroidery

Both the red shibori and white embroidered fabrics are rinzu – figured silk. A close look shows that both have the traditional sayagata (key fret) pattern. These were both almost certainly originally kimono or kosode  accessible only to the wealthiest members of society. When they were no longer wearable, the luxurious materials were salvaged and put to further good use. Even fragments as small as these were recycled.

This small wallet contains blotting paper, a Japanese make-up accessory. Often Japanese women carried small, lightweight wallets like this in the bottom of their kimono sleeves. Perhaps, as sometimes happens, this delicate wallet survived because it was forgotten in the sleeve of a kimono that the owner stopped wearing, and carefully stored away as a family treasure.

For Wikipedia’s brief and interesting history of blotting paper (aburatorigami), click here.

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