When someone sees this beautiful noh mask picture, they start asking - what kind of graphic art is this?


Kiri-e (切り絵) comes from the characters for “cut” (kiri) and “picture” (e) and refers to the art of paper cutting.


This is an ancient art brought to Japan from China about 1400 years ago. At first it was used for gifts to temples and home decoration.


Then, practical Japanese people found that this art can be used for making kimono templates.

Unfortunately, kiri-e is a dying art. It was proclaimed as a living national treasure by the Emperor. 


Without kiri-e we wouldn’t have all those vivid shapes on the kimono. Without these templates there won't be the art of yuzen (友禅染).