diamond in the rough

Sometimes, we come across diamond in the rough……this time, I think I may have hit it again!

I go to antique shops, fairs….I’m incorridgeable!

Well, this is a set of pieces that I found at one said antique shop which I frequent, in Mino, the city next to ours, known for it’s old town and paper industry. The walls of the cafe section of the shop are lined with these printing blocks, and they were always intriguing.

Upon inquiring about them quite a ways back, I found that they were from an old napkin business in Gifu City, an hour downriver of here. And that there were more to be had! Gifu is a textile and paper area, so this made sense. This dealer had bought the whole lot, numbering in the hundreds. The company was printing personalized  napkins for restaurants in Europe, and some of the plates had wholes to insert and change names. You can see one such plate which i got below.

with holes for replaceable restaurant name

with holes for replaceable restaurant name

The plates were carved in the Meiji and Taisho eras and are well over 100 years old. One or two which still had the restaurant names left in had places from Spain inserted. Since the plates were used for printing, they all had printing inks left on them; some blue, some pink,evry color represented! But it just seems to make them more interesting, more bizarre and other-worldly.DSCF4047 DSCF4040

Each of these plates is remarkable on many levels, considering design, overall sculptural qualities and historical providence. Really something we may never have the chance to own again! (that’s right! You TOO could own one…squeeky wheel!) Please look at better photos of some of th plates at my Facebook page.


Really, diamond in the rough….seed for wondering…..the beginning of a new episode in the life of an old object…..


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