Just like the ever-popular shoji screen room divider, many contemporary Japanese homes use Japanese Noren partitions to divide up space in an artful way. The major difference between shoji screens and Japanese noren curtains is the fact that you can walk “through” a noren, not just around it. Noren fabric dividers are typically hung between two rooms in place of a doorway, and have vertical slits that allow free passage between rooms, but they can also be hung on a wall or on a large window frame. Besides offering a Zen-inspired way to divide interior space, the variety of colorful Japanese Noren curtain designs can give any room an artistic dimension.
Noren are available in a variety of sizes, colors and fabrics. Some of the most popular patterns used in Japanese noren curtain designs include carp, clouds, bamboo, fans, Mt. Fuji and the Great Wave (a famous Japanese print by Hokusai.) Each Noren has a closed seam at the top for the insertion of a bamboo or wooden dowel, which allows the noren to be hung like a curtain. Made from cotton canvas and cotton-rayon blends, norens offer protection from the sun, wind and dust, as well as privacy in a home setting.
One of the most popular Japanese noren curtain designs is the Clouds and Fans pattern shown here. Fans are often used in Japanese religious ceremonies and by warriors and actors in Kabuki theatre. In Japanese culture, the fan is a symbol of the beginning of life and good fortune. This colorful Noren has beautiful fans that are set against a navy blue background. Made in Japan, it measures 33 inches wide by 59 inches long.