I was visiting the large beautiful Japanese circuit style garden in Takamatsu City in Kagawa called Ritsurin Park. Inside the park, there is a folk art museum called Sanuki Mingei-kan. I visited there to see an exhibition of old 'yaki-in', which is a stamp made from iron between 17th and 21st century.
There are so many beautiful designs of hundreds years old! They are all handmade and were often used to stamp Japanese sweets, or people stamped a company logo or a symbol on various objects. The iron was heated in charcoal and the heat burns the surface of the object.
All the motifs are so lovely - the line of design is round and gives a warm impression. The designs are often about nature that stands for the seasons or a letter that means auspiciousness at the occasion of a celebration. It is amazing to think that the detailed patterns were handcrafted hundreds years ago.
This stamp is the picture of swallows returning to their home.