Sunday, April 27, 2008

Old Japanese Design Book

I wandered down to the antique street market in the village this morning, looking for an old book to alter into a sketchbook. But instead I found a little treasure that I certainly won't be altering. Now I would be grateful if someone who reads Japanese could tell me exactly what this book is.

I was very taken with the traditional binding.

It has 264 pages of examples of Japanese graphic art, possibly ancient logos. Some look like they could be patterns for kimono designs. Anyway the notan is beautiful and I'm thinking that there are many patterns here I would like to try in linocut, perhaps for bookplates.

They remind me a lot of mandalas.

I can't find a date of publication (that I can read) but there is a light pencil message in the front that says
Showa 38 and the date 1963. Can anyone help?


Sydney said...

What a beautiful book. I get a weekly mailing from Dover Publications for their clipart. One of them is for Japanese family crests that looks similar to this. Here's a link to the book, but there's not much of a description.

Robyn said...

Sydney - You are brilliant!! That's exactly what it must be. I've just done some more research on the net and I found some of the same crests. I love the book even more now I know what it is. Of course if I'd just wanted a book of Japanese family crests, I saw a lot more economical versions in my search. Never mind, I love the silk and stitched binding of mine.

Sydney said...

I'm glad I could help! Even though there are cheaper alternatives, that's such a beautiful book, I would have purchased it too.

dinahmow said...

Wow! You do indeed have a lovely little treasure, Robyn.
I have a book in which similar designs are shown as heraldic devices.
I also have an old and faded paper tag from a roll of cloth and it bears (or once did!) a tiger-ish animal and characters which I'm told are the manufacturer's stamp.
Now, of course, you must go nack and look for a "rubbish" book. Or another gem!

E-J said...

Wow - what a fascinating find! And the binding is lovely.

juj said...

What a treasure! I think Sydney's right - I have a similar book to the Dover one called "Signs, Symbols, and Signets" that has some Japanese crests in the back. I much prefer your lovely version tho.

Congrats on your show!! May is right around the corner - you must be getting excited. I hope you'll tell us all about the opening.

And your tulip is simply stunning! It reminds me of a Christmas poinsettia, but I love your analogy of the girl at the dance.

Karen Cole said...

Haven't been here in awhile, Robyn. Didn't know where to comment first.

I know what you mean about finding great books that you want to alter for sketchbooks. An old book store just opened nearby and I've purchased quite a few beautiful ones. I end up having the same problem, they are too lovely to alter.

Congrats on your first show!!!

Your tulips are strikingly lovely.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

My goodness - what a find!

Why don't you try asking that chap who lives in Japan and has the nice woodcut site in one of my Japanese posts. His name is David Bull - The [Baren] Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking

I'm thinking that they must be something like the wood carvings for the equivalent of a signet or seal.

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