Friday, October 26, 2012

Edo Period Oshie

This first image is of one of my favourite pieces in my collection.  I used it in one of my first blog posts and  it's the image on the home page of my website. It's a late Edo period oshie ( 押絵 lit. 'push picture')  padded applique and probably dates from around the middle of the 19th century.  It has the  subtlety and delicacy that is characteristic of so many Edo period textiles, and which  is rarely seen in later oshie.

Oshie developed as a craft in the  second half of Edo period ( 1600-1868) as a pastime for  wealthy  women  who had time on their hands. They also had access to silk remnants to re-use.  Some oshie were displayed on small sticks which could be inserted into display stands. The ones here have been mounted on paper.  Most of them have been pasted into the centre of the sheet with the side pieces folding over to close:
 We bought these oshie together and they  seem to have been made by the same person.
I love the attitude and the flirtatious sideways look of the woman in this final one.



  1. Hi Jan,

    A few years ago I bought an unframed textile picture at the local markets which is a padded tree design, very fetching with a Japanese red seal mark and a black one . I just thought it was beautiful. Now to see your post and realise there is a name -Oshie- for the technique I took a closer look and yes, the design is on paper support .
    As you said recently, following one's instincts can be a good thing. Now I'm looking at my picture with new eyes.
    Thank you for another learning curve!
    Regards, Claudia

  2. Hi Claudia,
    I'm glad this post was useful! If you're interested in trying oshie let me know - I haven't seen any books in English but there are some in Japanese (with nice clear pictures). These days they're often mounted on shikishi craft boards. I have some shikishi here and I might put some on the website as well.
    Thanks for your comments - I always appreciate them.