Here is a collection of links featuring Japanese suminagashi for you
The International Research Center for Japanese Studies has mounted a
large database of Edo-period tanzaku panels.
Information in English:
Gateway to the database:
Here are the links to each panel; click on the image to load it in
glorious detail. I'm still trying to find out just WHO the poets are
and WHAT they had to say.
I have not seen the following books yet, but they may contain more
Bradstock, Timothy R. and Judith N. Rabinovitch
The Kanshi Poems of the Ozaka Tanzaku Collection: Late Edo Life
Through the Eyes of Kyoto Townsmen.
An Anthology of Kanshi (Chinese verse) by Japanese poets of the Edo
Dance of the Butterflies: Chinese Poetry from the Japanese Court
Dr. Gabi Greve of the Daruma Museum has posted by message to the
"translating Haiku" forum on her blog. She has created a page devoted
to the topic of tanzaku, and mentions a tradition of hanging them in
trees during the tanabata "star festival" in the fall.
Scroll down about half way.
She has graciously translated tanzaku #455:
nama nuruki yu-oke no ue ya kiku no hana
on the lukewarm water
in the bath bucket -
Nakagawa was apparently a low-life samurai.
After reading this, I wonder if this haiku is describing the marbling
Thanks to Milena Hughes for bringing to my attention a byobu folding
screen, featuring a painting of tanzaku panels hung trees, fluttering
in the breeze, in the Art Institute of Chicago
and the enlarged image here
A few weeks ago, I mentioned seeing a pair of byobu with 6 panel
folding screens each that feature large trees by a pond of silver at
the Freer exhibition "East of Eden".
Individual tanzaku panels were pasted to the screen to give the effect
that they have been hung on the tree limbs. The tanzaku feature a
variety of decorative papers, including kumogami (cloud-paper, blue
banding similar to marbling, but made with poured blue pulp) as well
as varieties of sunago and kirihaku (broken and cut gold and silver
flecking. These are not renderings of tanzaku, as seen in the Tosa
Mitsuoki byobu in the link above, but actual panels; hence the Freer
byobu panels do appear stiff and don't "flutter in the breeze". It
makes me wonder if they may have been constructed as an attempt to
preserve a particular event.
Unfortunately, you can only see a small clip of the image of this
byobu on page 3 of the "Introduction" to the interactive tour.
One other image shows both byobu. Click on the interactive tour, then
on the box labeled "East Asia", and then click on the top left
"Gallery". An image will load, but more are featured underneath.
The pair of byobu that I'm referring to is image #18 (the thumbnail
shows tree limbs on a gold background).
A drop-down text box explains that the panels appear "as is recently
tied to the branches following a spring poetry party or composition".
It also mentions how this practice "...of tying them to branches or
donating them as offerings to the gods first started at court and then
spread to other classes of Japanese society."
No mention of when this practice may have started.
Unfortunately there is not permanent link to the Freer database- YET!
Only this one, which appears to feature leaves from the Shin Kokinshu,
More images of suminagashi have appeared on the Fukui archives website
Which is nice to see, in addition to some lovely book bindings from
the Fukui museum:
Also, some of you may find the images below to be of interest. I
found them by performing a google image search using the term
"suminagashizome" in Japanese 墨流し染め
There appears to be a revival fabric marbling in Japan nowadays.
Some auctions for kimono and obi offered on Yahoo! Japan.
Here's an image from the Tokyo Metro Library:
The nishiki-e (colored ukiyo-e) works of Harunobu have found a new home:
These are NOT actual suminagashi papers, but woodblock engraved
patterns that imitate suminagashi.
Finally, some terrific images of the master Tadao Fukada of Echizen,
featured on Flickr