Japanese Lanterns (Chochin), c. 1960.



1960sArts & Culture
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Japanese Gifu lanterns (chochin), c. 1960, hanging from the shop ceiling. So-named because Gifu Prefecture is the center of its production. “Oval in shape, it is a fancy lantern design more for an ornamental use than practical, since, while most lanterns are made of oiled paper, the Gifu-chochin is made of silk with fantastic designs.”

“The Chochin of Japan, or portable lantern as it means, is one of our most typical bamboo articles. Known the world over, the Japanese lantern is artistic in design but ismple in construction, since it is made of bamboo-strips joined together with strings and covered with oiled paper. It is stretched out accordion-fashion when in use, but collapsed when out of use.

“The use of a Japanese lantern is two-fold, practical and ornamental, as it is used to light the way in the night and also as an ornament. A lantern is necessary to the bride’s escort at her wedding. Also, a funeral procession must have two or more plain and unpainted lanterns at the head, even when the funeral is held in the day-time, in order to lead the dead spirit, because according to the Japanese belief, the land of the dead is dark and gloomy.”

We Japanese, Vol. II, Miyanoshita Fujiya Hotel, 1937

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