Tuesday, January 5, 2010

all kinds of tigers

While I was delighted by the number of nengajou (traditional Japanese New Year cards) I received this year, the percentage of hand-drawn cards was probably the smallest in decades, and has me puzzled. I had imagined that the ailing economy would result in an increase of hand-made cards, but apparently this does not follow. Of the three cards I've posted here, only the one in the center was done by traditional etegami method-- with sumi ink on soft washi cards. I don't know if you can tell that the sender used gold paint on this card. Gold and silver gansai paints are not included in standard gansai sets. They have to be ordered separately, and are used for special occasions such as New Year's.

The card on the right is a block print. Yes, the cards depict tigers. Not kitty cats. It seems that in these modern times, people hesitate to use ferocious images on their felicitous greeting cards. I've noticed this in other years, whether it be the year of the mouse or the year of the dragon. Images tend to be cute or humorous. The card on the left was made on a computer, but I included it because it is an original design by an elderly sculptor friend of mine. Notice the stripes hanging off the tiger's body. The accompanying words declare the sender's intent to lose weight in 2010.