John’s Attic
Treasures from the Past
I’ve spent the past fifty years ferreting out Japanese treasures. I’ve decided to start sharing some of my favorites with others. I’ll be updating this page with new treasures on a regular basis–be sure to check back! Please feel free to contact me if you any questions.
shouki 002 face.png
Screen Shot 2021-11-22 at 2.54.26 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-11-22 at 1.34.15 PM.png
Shouki Dolls
Ichimatsu Dolls
Bushi Dolls
click on any of the images to see everything available in that category
Shouki Noboribata with Demon in Flight
While the first image has the oni clearly in view, in the second image we can just imagine by his focus where the oni is located.

Both are dressed in the Japanese-imagined version of how he would have been outfitted in ancient times across the sea.

Each banner is designed to be seen from both sides and so are painted to match identically front and back.  Both banners have been hand painted with no use of rice paste resist or other aid to the dye process. Natural minerals have been used as the dyes–primarily sumi ( lamp black), ai ( indigo), gunjou (cobalt 群青), and bengara (iron 弁柄 ). In my dyework I always mix soy milk as a binding agent. This keeps the pigments from crocking (rubbing off), but it doesn’t seem to have been used in this case.

If we take a close look at the akaoni (赤鬼 red ogre) depicted in the first image (see detail below), you’ll notice how the dyes seem to look a bit uneven through wear. This is what crocking will do. Even though the dyes will hold up well to outdoor abuse, it would not be wise to go out of your way to wash them.
"Oh, no you di'n't!"
Iron rust pigments and lamp black pigments are visibly sitting on the surface of the hand-woven cotton.