Kimono Kimono is a magnificent treasure trove of Japanese collectables, from vintage Japanese Kimono, silk scarves, wooden clogs, masks and elegant opera costumes to antique hanging scrolls, parasols, paper fans and lanterns.
Japanese Woodblock Stamps
Phil Porter, who runs Kimono Kimono, allowed me to photograph his own personal collection of antique woodblocks and stamping books used on the Shikoku pilgrimage. Each stamp is intricately carved. On one of the blocks, some of the background has been re-carved in an attempt to revive the original stamp which has been worn down from the years of stamping. Another stamp is carved on both sides to enable a two colour print be made from the one stamp.
The woodblock stamp is solid but softened from the years of being held. It reminds me of my netsuke drawing session at the Bristol Museum where I had a similar feeling holding the netsuke. These tactile objects built for practical purposes, slowly shrinking with use, are taken away to be preserved and now have a new purpose. To become historical reminders, time capsules, precious objects for adoration, reflection and meditation.
These beautifully stamped books (Nokyo-Cho) are given to each pilgrim as they begin their journey in the 88 temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. The pilgrimage is to honour Shikoku's most famous Japanese Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi. As part of their pilgrimage they will collect the signature and seal of each temple they visit.
"This is not just a pilgrimage to places made sacred by his name. This is not just a visit to temples founded by, or visited by, the Daishi. This is a month's long walking ritual where you ask the Daishi to walk with you and then completely turn yourself over to his care. And if asked, he long ago vowed to walk with anyone who requests it. In return for your efforts, the rewards are unimaginable." Pilgrimage to the 88 Sacred Paces of Shikoku
Phil Porter Seal
Phil gives me a Kimono Kimono postcard with his own personal seal stamped on the back. He tells me that it is Japanese tradition that all families have their own seal or stamp (called Inkan or Hanko in Japanese). These seals would serve the same purpose as a signature for all kinds of documents, from signing important contracts to confirming a receipt of delivery.
I thank Phil for his time and in exchange I offer him a netsuke woodblock print and pick up a little Sakura notepad, some Japanese incense and head back to my studio.
"KimonoKimono holds an extensive range of Kimono and Obi, along with dressing accessories and object d'art. A treasure house for Kimono lovers,textile collectors and interior designers." Kimono Kimono
13 Perry Road