Used to apply patterns to kimono, futon and banners, persimmon juice-soaked, smoked paper stencils offer a unique view into the history of Japanese fashion and graphic design. The existence of katagami helps to reconstruct something of the culture that developed around the textile industry and the social and the cultural nuances imbedded in their materials, construction, aesthetic and use.
The John Huston Collection of Japanese paper stencils is believed to be the largest private collection of katagami in the United States. The collection was amassed from European collections acquired when the first Japanese artifacts arrived in the west and were collected in London, Vienna and Paris. These excellent small collections were gathered by John Huston (not the director) in the 1950s and 60s. Stencils from the Huston Collection have been the subject of major exhibitions in American museums including the Asia Society New York, Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago and the de Young Museum. It is with great delight that we are able to present these masterworks of Japanese design and craftsmanship.