Contemporary Japanese Prints, Handmade Ceramics & Jewelry, Japanese Antiques, California Artists & Sculptors


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 WATANABE Sadao                                                            

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 Sadao Watanabe
(1913-1996)
Medium: Japanese Stencil

As a youth, Watanabe became a Christian, and chose to combine a dedication to his new faith with an interest in preserving the traditional folk craft of Okinawan stencil dying, or katazome. He spent several years as an apprentice learning techniques for dyeing kimono fabric, and then furthered his studies under the direction of stencil artist Keisuke Serizawa, as well as Soetsu Yanagi--the founder of the Japanese Folk Art Movement.

The paper stencils Watanabe uses are cut from a heavy weight paper that has been strengthened by soaking in persimmon juice. This permits repeated use without significant deterioration. Interestingly, Watanabe’s technique allows for a final printing of the solid portion of the stencil in black ink, atop the colored portions--so both the positive and negative areas of the stencil are used. The strong black lines recall the work of Munakata Shiko, as well as earlier Buddhist artists.

Although the subject matter is exclusively Biblical themes, the renditions are always distinctly Japanese. A Noah’s Ark may be designed in the shape of an Oriental bamboo cricket cage, and at the Last Supper, disciples may sit on the floor, eating tai fish and wearing robes with kimono designs. Watanabe’s works offer a richness of color with the use of natural vegetable dyes, and a distinctively strong texture with the use of heavy handmade mulberry paper, which is soaked in water and crumpled before printing begins.

Exhibitions:
Japan Print Association
CWAJ Print Show, Tokyo
San Francisco, California
Portland, Oregon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bradford, England
Manila, Phillipines

Collections:
The Vatican
The White House
Folkcraft Museum, Tokyo
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
British Museum, London
Art Gallery of New South Wales--Sydney, Australia

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