This month’s Artifact of the Month is a collection of Imperial Japanese paper ration wrappers from World War II that were sent to the then Institute of Paper Chemistry (now Renewable Bioproducts Institute) on June 20, 1944. There are five separate pieces that are accompanied by a letter from Major James Clark in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. These paper fragments have labels and instructions printed in Japanese with handwritten notes in English about the ration manufacturers in Osaka.
This month’s Artifact of the Month is a mid-20th-century booklet advertising different typographical ornamentations for the holiday season (#2021.05.027). Ludlow Typograph Company of Chicago, Illinois printed this catalog full of wintry decorations intended to be used as illustrations or borders on ads and posters as shown in the photographs. Six pages are dedicated to jolly images like Christmas trees, holly, Santa Claus, and reindeer. The assortment, printed in bright red or green, could be ordered in a variety of sizes.
This month’s Artifact of the Month is a sheet of Turkish marbled paper, ebru, made by Mustafa Esat Düzgünman in 1977 (2019.09.0010). This ebru example consists of three red tulips and four white tulips on a single green stem with leaves on a dark blue-green stone patterned background. Düzgünman signed in pencil to the right of the stem’s base. He was one of the foremost ebru makers of the 20th century along with his mentor, Necmeddin Okyay. Okyay revolutionized floral designs, çiçekli, with the new style eventually being named after him.
This month’s Artifact of the Month is a sheet of Chinese dressing room wallpaper from the 20th century that was painted and woodblocked by hand. The pattern is comprised of shimmering gray-green moths, vines, and gourds on a rust-colored background. The single color of the pattern indicates that only one woodblock was used for printing. This wallpaper was clearly handmade as evidenced by the slight misalignment of the pattern on the sheet, the brushstrokes of the red background, and the varying values due to uneven pressure application.
This month’s Artifact of the Month is a Mexican road and railway map made in 1945. The Mapa de Carreteras y Ferrocarriles (Map of Highways and Railroads) is a tall, brown folded booklet with black text on the cover that unfolds into a blue map. The cover and the map itself are in Spanish with English translations. While road and town names are printed in white, the color coding of roads was done by hand, so the brushstrokes of red, yellow, green, and white paint are visible.