Posts Tagged ‘Noren’

What is a Japanese Noren?

Friday, October 14th, 2016

A noren is a traditional Japanese door curtain or Japanese fabric divider.  They are hung in doorways, windows or even to conceal a hall or storage closet. Most feature a sleeve along the top for a curtain rod or bamboo rod for easy hanging.  The most common noren is rectangular, but you can also find ‘half door’ or ‘top door’ noren for specialized styles.  Noren normally have a slit that runs from the bottom to nearly the top. This makes it easier to pass through the curtain.

These Japanese dividers may be used to enhance any room or doorway.  Noren are also used professionally in business. Restaurants and small businesses use these in doorways to help keep out dust or as a buffer against the sun. Business owners often print their name and logo on these to draw more attention to their place. Outdoor noren used in businesses allow customers to know if the business is open or closed. The curtains are hung in the morning when they open and taken down at the end of the day when they close their shops.  These are popular in Asian restaurants to separate the kitchen and dining room.  Noren softens noise and can trap odors in the kitchen.

Noren are available in many styles and patterns including written kanji or calligraphy, fish, birds, poems, temples, mountains, scenery, characters and people.  Chopa Zen Home recently added several new patterns.  Our favorite is the Kinkaku-ji Temple noren. The Kinkaku-ji temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) resides in Kyoto, Japan and was built to house Buddhist relics.  Across the water, an elegant Maiko (Geisha trainee) strolling the garden has stopped to admire the temple. You will enjoy the vivid colors and symbolic designs of this noren. This noren is made by artisans in Japan.

noren curtain

Japanese noren door curtain

Decorate your Space with this Great Wave Noren

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
Great Wave Noren Wall Hanging

Great Wave Noren Wall Hanging

Looking for a textural wall hanging or room divider which is also a beautiful work of art? Then you may want to consider this Great Wave Noren.  A Noren is a traditional Japanese fabric divider, which can be hung on doors, between rooms, or in windows.  To make them more fluid, and passable, Noren usually have long vertical slits right down the middle.  They are rectangular in shape and come in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns.

Outside of the home, Noren can be found in restaurants and shops as a wind protector or sun shade, and are also used to display advertising.  They are also found in commercial bathhouses, known as Sentō, where they are colored blue for men and red for women.

One way to celebrate this long-held Japanese tradition in your home is with this Noren depicting Hokusai’s famous painting, “The Great Wave at Kanagawa”; an iconic frozen image of a great wave eclipsing Mount Fuji in the distance.  While many viewers know this work of art by the “Great Wave” in the foreground, Mount Fuji has always been the focus of this inverted composition.

Fans of Hokusai’s woodblock prints have often looked at this image and assumed it to be a tsunami, but the wave is more likely to be an oversized “okinami”, which is the Japanese word for “ocean wave”.  To fully appreciate the artist behind this famous print is to understand that Hokusai was a thoroughly obsessed Bohemian artist who was a singled-minded artistic genius.  Later in life he signed one of his final works “The Art-Crazy Old Man”.  Perhaps his eccentricity is what drove him to change his name about 30 times and live in some ninety different homes during his 89 years.  Hokusai left over 30,000 works of art, including woodblock prints, silk paintings, sketches and picture books.

This magnificent Noren is an excellent way to decorate and furnish your home in Zen fashion and it will enhance any room or doorway.  Made from cotton canvas, the Great Wave Noren shown here measures 33” by 59”.  Its closed-top seam allows it to be hung with a wooden dowel or bamboo rod.