Paper mulberry, persimmon tannin

An earlier entry of Daily Japanese Textile shows a stencil of two large carp – one in its entirety, one split in half. (Click here to see that stencil.) The two split parts come together again when the design is repeated – an elegant way for the designer to avoid the monotony of carp aligned in static rows, or of very small carp fitted onto one stencil.

This stencil solves the space dilemma in a different way – here we are shown a number of carp swarming into the same small space, as if it were feeding time. We see only a section of each carp – no single carp is shown in its entirety – but the very clever design allows the viewer to gauge their large size and energetic activity.

In the close-up above, note the three dimensionality of the eye near the lower left corner, rendered with two simple semi-circles. Note also that all the paper tie-bars that help hold the design together have a graceful wave to them, as if they were ripples of water. The tie-bars are utilitarian, but have been completely integrated into the design.