Thursday, March 15, 2007

Worlds created from Paper

This is a contemporary greeting card from Japan for the 'Hina-Matsuri' or Peach Blossom Festival. As described in my previous post, Hina dolls traditionally were actual figures displayed on tiers. The Japanese, however, are known for their skill not only in making incredible use of very small spaces but for their use of paper. Origami is an art form that has achieved international fame, but the Japanese have been able to use paper even to create interior walls for houses.

The 'pop-up card' is not exclusively a Japanese form, but it has been used here to create an incredible little Hina display that includes all the traditional members of the Emperor's court and their accoutrements.

I myself love miniature secret worlds and the entire concept of 'pop-up' books and cards is that of a hidden world that can be collapsed into a two-dimensional book or card but which appears in full glory when the book or card is opened.

A crystal ball or a candle flame is a traditional focus for meditation. I do find that a 'pop-up' card or book can be an incredible aid for creative visualisation, another form of meditation. Apart from that, it is a source of great delight. The first moment of surprise, when the card or page is opened, is one of the great pleasures of childhood that still enchants.

In this age of technology, when video and computer games offer a chance to experience other worlds and lives, the 'pop-up' card or book still retains its special magic.


Fleming said...

That's true about pop-ups. I never thought of it.

I am fascinated by Japanese art and culture -- from afar. When I first saw and entered a Japanese house at a Japanese garden in Los Angelese I felt I had stepped into the presence of superior alien beings.

Apparently you actually have some of their paper creations. Very good. I have only a number of maneki nekko figurines, the only thing I've ever collected in my adult life. It seems difficult to get genuine Japanese maneki nekko ceramics; most of those I can order online are gawdy and tacky like the decorations in too many Chinese restaurants.

Freyashawk said...

I wish I did have some of these wonderful pieces, but the beauty of the internet is that one can find photographs taken by other people and, with their permission, use them...