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Release: Jan. 14, 2000

UI Museum of Art presents exhibition of Japanese Carved Paper

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will present "Carved Paper: The Art of the Japanese Stencil," an exhibition of katagami stencils used in textile dyeing, Jan. 22 through March 5 in the Carver Gallery.

Educational programs will be presented by Susanna Campbell Kuo, an authority on Japanese stencils and co-author of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition. Kuo will present a free slide lecture and a stencil carving demonstration at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23 as a part of the museum's weekly Perspectives series. And from 10:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, she will give another stencil carving demonstration at the museum.

Paper stencils have been used for textile dyeing in Japan since at least the 12th century. Katagami (literally, "pattern paper") stencils are used in the textile dyeing process known as katazome. A dye-resistant paste is applied to cloth through patterns carved into the stencils, which are made of mulberry paper and waterproofed with persimmon juice. When the cloth is dyed, the pattern that was carved into the paper stencil appears in the undyed areas of the cloth.

Apart from the functional nature of the stencils, the exceptional beauty of the katagami patterns and the masterful carving on their rich brown paper have captivated Western collectors, designers, and artists for the last 50 years.

Visitors to the exhibition will find a rich array of designs in the stencils, from miniature geometric shapes to elaborate, pictorial compositions with motifs drawn from nature, poetry, folklore and objects in daily life. The collection constitutes an extraordinary archive of Japanese two-dimensional design, offering rich insights into Japanese art and culture.

Victoria Rovine, curator of the arts of Asia, Africa, and Oceania, is sure that "people will be surprised by the objects in the exhibition because even though they're tools, they are themselves beautiful, technically amazing works of art."

The exhibition was organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California.

The exhibition and its accompanying publication are funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Japan Foundation, the Wallis Foundation, the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Studies (Kyoto), the Chalifoux Fund, the Dr. and Mrs. Albert E. and Antoinette Gump Amorteguy Oriental Publications Endowment, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's Friends of Asian Art.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots on Riverside Drive.