Sunday, October 11, 2009
I made a new mail art friend recently, who has a keen interest in minority languages. That inspired me to try an etegami that reflects the culture and language of the Ainu, the native people of northern Japan. It happens that I have been translating Ainu folklore into English for over ten years. Click here to see my blog about the Ainu translation project, Project U-e-peker.
The etegami I posted is a representation of the Shimafukurou (Blakiston's Fish Owl) which the Ainu have traditionally regarded as the guardian of Ainu villages. It is the largest owl in the world, with a wingspan that can extend to six feet (2 meters), and it is an endangered animal. The Shimafukurou features in many Ainu folktales, and I've quoted the opening lines of the most famous one on this etegami. The English version of this story can be read here, if you are interested.
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What a marvelous blog...all your sites are wonderful! I'm so glad I discovered them. This post makes me want to pull out my sumi and brushes and try painting again.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for visiting my blog! You really should "pull out your sumi and brushes and try painting again." Notice my MailArt call (top, right) for Autumn-themed Etegami. You still have time to send me one. (he he)ReplyDelete
Where can you get an etegami set? I would love to try it!ReplyDelete
@Anonymous: you didn't say where you live. If you're in Japan, you can find most of what you need separately or as a set in large stationery stores. The Etegami sets often come with a small packet of trial cards that are not as absorbent as the cards I like to use. You'll want to experiment with various brands to find one you like.ReplyDelete
If you live in a Western country, finding the materials will probably be a lot harder. But several of my readers do Chinese or Japanese style ink brush calligraphy (shodo), so if you can find a teacher or school of calligraphy near you, they might be able to help you get some of the basic tools.
Meanwhile, I'll see if there's an online shop here in Japan that would be willing to send stuff overseas. If I get any useful info, I could send it to you if I had your email address. Send your name and address to dosankodebbie at mac dot com
Thank you for all your help and information. I live in the United States and enjoy Sumi painting but I love how Etegami is so colorful! I think I may have found a couple online sites that ship to the US and I will keep my eyes open. I appreciate your help!ReplyDelete
Please share the info about your online sources. I get asked a lot, and need to put together a post about this very topic.I just remembered that I ordered a couple etegami sets from Amazon Japan, to test them out before deciding whether to send them to my family in the US. Amazon Japan will ship to the US, and there's a way to see the site in English. The sets comes with just a few sample postcards, and I don't think Amazon sells the postcards by themselves. Plus, the cards in the sets were not absorbent enough for my taste. The paints and tools were great, though!
These are two sites I discovered today:ReplyDelete
The first site definitely ships to the US. The second website, however, I am still trying to figure out. I sent them an email asking if they ship to the US and hopefully I will get a reply. I searched for an Etegami set on Amazon Japan but didn't have any luck.