tanzaku 短冊
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Small vertical poem cards, approximately 36cm long x 6cm wide that may be decorated with colored designs, sprinkled with cut gold, silver or mica or covered with silk. The origins of this form may be connected to small slips of paper used for divining in ancient times. Another possible origin of tanzaku comes from the Heian period, when small rectangular pieces of paper, on which one poem was written, were used for poetry anthologies. The earliest extant examples from the 14c are of waka 和歌 poems on tanzaku white with no decoration. It was during the Muromachi period that tanzaku became highly decorated with cloud patterns overlaid with cut pieces of gold and silver.


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