Paul Binnie, Beauty Portrait, A Thousand Stitch Belt of 1940, Contemporary Art


Artist: Paul Binnie (1967 – )
Title: A Thousand Stitch Belt of 1940
Edition: 36/100
Series: Flowers of a Hundred Years (Hyakunen no hana)
Date: 2014
Size: 47.5 cm x 33.5 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print. 

The design for the year 1940 is called Senninbari (A Thousand Stitch Belt). These belts, which may date back to the 17th Century, are sewn by a thousand passers-by, one stitch each, as a lucky charm given by a woman to a warrior. By the period of the Asian War of the late 1930s, and the Pacific War of the early 1940s, prepared strips of fabric were sold, printed with a thousand crimson circles, each of which would then be stitched and the gift wrapped around the stomach of the soldier, sailor or airman going to fight.

The print employs gold leaf, silver and bronze metallic pigments, mica on the collars and embossing, as well as around 30 printed colours. Tiny embossed and sliver-printed aeroplanes on her two kimono suggest that her husband is a pilot.

Series and print title embossed on the top left-hand side. Edition number and artist signature in original pencil. ‘Binnie’ embossed on the bottom margin.

Paul Binnie

Blending traditional methods with a modern style, Paul Binnie is working mostly under the influence of Shin-hanga movement, founded by the publisher Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962). Shozaburo was aiming to renew declining Ukiyo-e tradition and break into foreign markets by commissioning new, young artists who would work within the old co-operated system, composed of the publisher, artist, engraver and printers. However, Paul makes his own prints from beginning to the end by himself, as was done by artists of another post-war movement: Sosaku hanga.

He mostly works in several subjects such as kabuki, tattoo, landscape and beauty prints. His original plan had been to stay in Japan less than he actually did but once he started to sell his kabuki prints, he decided to expand his technique more and has created works of this subject until 1998 in Japan. His interest in Japanese tattoo was born when he saw Yakuza, members of the Japanese mafia who traditionally have body tattoos, bathing for the first time in a sento (Japanese-style public bath). He is still working on a series of woodblock prints of this theme. Near the end of 1997, he began to do Japanese landscape prints and these became a huge success.

More Information
Print FormatDai-Oban
ArtistPaul Binnie
SubjectBeauty & Female, Contemporary
Dimensions47.5 x 33.5 cm
Condition ReportExcellent.
SeriesFlowers of a Hundred Years