Archive of more than 1000 sheets, mainly tissue paper of various sizes, of original drawings, some in vivid color, of designs for textiles prepared for customers and the company’s own weaving factories.

In various formats and sizes, some quite large, many folding. [Kyoto & Tokyo: ca. 1910].

The Masumiya Kyoto Textile Company, owned by the Saito family, was located on Muromachi-dori in the textile district of Kyoto, Nishijin. The company was founded in the early Edo period and lasted ten generations; it went bankrupt sometime in the middle of the 20th century due to family neglect. Masumiya was a textile wholesaler, with a branch in Nihonbashi, Tokyo (this branch used the name Saito Mohei Tokyo ten). The company specialized in the design and creation of rich silk brocades for kimono and obi belts, religious decorative textiles for shrines and temples, ornate fabrics for borders of hanging scrolls (“kinran” and “donsu”), elaborate wrappers used to protect precious tea ceremony objects, and costumes for Noh and Kabuki theater, as well as dyed textiles for kimono. Masumiya issued catalogues with samples (the National Library of Australia has one, dated 1900-10).

These finely illustrated sheets, many of which are bound in six albums, contain black & white brush drawings as well as color illustrations prepared by the company’s design studio for both clients and the factories doing the weaving. Many of the drawings contain manuscript technical notes regarding stitching, color, cut, dyes, etc.

There are several swatches attached to designs and some fascinating price lists. We should add that Mohei Saito, who ran the Tokyo branch, had a sideline of real estate investment, and there are two floor plans, one for a typical machiya and another for proposed apartments.

In fine condition.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 6840