Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Hanging Thing

As I shift from school to school, one thing I try to do is visit some of the local thrift shops. Depending on the area, I can sometimes find a lot of old, traditional Japanese things, or I come across piles of baseball knickknacks. 

The biggest one in town here in Matsumoto is a branch of a chain called BookOff. This particular location has housewares, clothing, hardware and electronics, collectibles and toys, and even an automobile/motorcycle section. And in the back of the store, I found some hanging things.

"Hanging thing" sounds really generic, but it's the literal translation of "kakemono". Japanese sometimes uses really simple compound words to describe things. But instead of getting into the language, why am I bringing this up?

Well, "kakejiku" (hanging scroll) is the more common name for a particular item in a stereotypical Japanese home. These are used to mount and display paintings and calligraphy. I found several kakejiku, and picked out one that appealed to me.

It came in this nice lightweight wooden box. 
Opening it up, you can see it is a scroll. They typically have specific sections and parts. The top is the "heaven" part, while the bottom is "earth". The bottom has a "jikugi" rod, which the scroll is wrapped around when rolled, and another rod and other pieces are found at the top, including hanging thread and tassels. 
I hung this up for the photo, and I left the tassels hanging in the front so you can see everything. The painting itself is framed by wallpaper-like gold paper, and additional fancy paper frames the top and bottom. If you enlarge the photo above, you can probably see the detail on all of the different papers, and of course get a better look at the image itself.

I chose this particular one because it has a lot of color and a very nice nature/river scene, but there is also a man in a boat, an old house, and four mythical creatures. I'm pretty sure this is an original painting (not printed), but if it's not copied from another work, it's certainly based on it. Four gods in a landscape is a relatively common theme. I didn't buy it as an investment, anyway. Eventually, I hope to have it displayed somewhere, along with my Chinese scroll that is definitely a (nice looking) reproduction.

These are often displayed in nicer homes in a Japanese-style room; most formal rooms have an alcove used for hanging these and displaying nice vases, wood, or other aesthetically-pleasing items.

It's no baseball card, but it is a nice item in my collection!

Until next time...

3 comments:

  1. That is so cool, I love the style and colors! Nice find. Am hoping the next hanging thing you can find is a full taba pack of menko or bromides!

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  2. Looks very nice. I've wondered what Book Off was - I don't think I've ever stopped in one.

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  3. Very cool artwork. I could see something like this hanging up in my dad's place.

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