Hornung’s “Traditional Japanese Stencil Designs” is not the book to purchase if you
are seeking inspiration for tattoos. It is, however, of exceptional value if your
interests include Japanese aesthetics in general and textile motifs in particular
or if you are seeking sophisticated patterns that can be manipulated and reproduced
as graphic designs.
The stencils included were originally designed for monochromatic printing on cotton
textiles but are also typical of the patterns imprinted on deer-skin goods and traditional
Japanese wrapping papers. More than any other volume in Dover’s generously-sized library
of books on Japanese design, Hornung’s testifies to the Japanese genius for manipulating
a few design elements into subtle and classically beautiful patterns. Some of the
patterns are abstract and without specific meaning, but the overwhelming majority
are rich in symbolism. Hornung’s introduction discusses the most important of these
symbolic meanings. However, the usefulness of the introduction is compromised by his
failure to number the stencils and then identify for the reader precisely which plates
represent each thematic motif.
There are over 100 royalty free patterns in JPEG format included on the CDR, while
the book serves as a look-book for each pattern. Also includes a quick reference guide
in the back of the book. Excellent for designers and asiaphiles.
Buy at Dover Publications