Ise-katagami are traditional handmade dyeing stencils that developed around Shirako in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. These stencils were used in dyeing yuzen, yukata, and for komon (family crest) designs and patterns on kimono fabrics.
There are four traditional stencil techniques: 'sui-bori', 'tsuki-bori', 'shima-bori', and 'dougu-bori'. These techniques involve varying processes for the cutting of the fine, complex-patterned stencils from thick paper that is made by gluing several sheets of Japanese washi paper together.
The history of these stencils goes back a long way, although the origins are not clear. All agree, however, that ise-katagami already existed by the late Muromachi period (around 570). With the start of the Edo period, and the promotion of dyeing as an independent industry under the protection of the Tokugawa Kishuu clan, katagami salesmen were free to do business all over the country. This is how the ise-katagami from Shirako came to be well-known throughout the country.
Ise stencils were designated by the Agency of Cultural Affairs as an Intangible Cultural Treasure in 1952. They were also designated as a Traditional Handicraft Equipment by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1983.
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