42. Group of Japanese Shop Signs (Kamban)

An interesting group of carved wood shop signs from the Osaka and Kyoto region.

Starting from the top left going down:

a. A red and black lacquered on wood sign for an antique shop named Houken, dealing in old excavated treasures. At the Ishino-hoden-kofun site, Kawachi region Osaka. Height 14.5 in (37cm)

b. The carved wooden sign with rice cake mochi on a formal display stand. A white cake on top, red below, the combination for felicitous occasions (New year, weddings, etc.) The two mochi discs symbolise the coming and going of years, Ying & Yang and the next generation.

c. Inscribed Fukumasu, a shop selling chess / go boards. The address is Kyuhoji-Machi is located in modern central Osaka. 

d. A carved Kianeki wood sign showing a folded futon set with a pair of traditional wooden pillows inscribed On-Yagufuton. 

Starting from the top right going down:

e. Inscribed Ebosthi Hats, address Takado Sanjo Muromachi district, Kyoto.  Shop name is Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) NB: (He is said to have dedicated an area called Murumachi Sanjo district to assemble artisans who crafted Ebosthi Hats. The hats are traditional formal head gear worn by priests, warriors, noble men, actors, etc. )

f. A carved wood sign inscribed Saruya producing traditional wood toothpicks since the Edo period, in the Nihonbashi District of Edo. (Tokyo) The shop logo still in use (2020) carved as a stylised baby monkey.

g. A carved wooden sign is Suzuto a pewter ware shop in Osaka

h. A wooden sign for Japanese Football, inscribed with name Asauki. Traditional Kemari balls with the imperial family warrant. The noble family of Asuki were a branch of the Fujiwara clan, known especially for their skill writing poetry and playing Kemari (Japanese football). 

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