I was interested in the Japanese temple books that pilgrims and travellers carry round with them and get them stamped in each temple – that Tim Parry-Williams mentioned. I’ve read a bit about them, they’re called goshuincho. The name literally means ‘Honourable Red Stamp Book’.

What was particularly interesting about them was that their origins were similar to the passport, a document of safe passage.  In the Edo period in Japan, travel was strictly regulated but you were allowed to undertake religious pilgrimage and these books were used as proof of travel to these temples and documents for safe passage.

The format is similar to the passport, folded paper in concertina read right to left

japanese stamp books

GoshuinchoPages from Temple stamp books (2015) https://www.insidejapantours.com/blog/2015/08/11/red-stamping-for-temple-tramping/

It is stamped and inked on by hand, similar to the passport. It will age and gain a patina.

This would fall under the consideration of how I want the public to interact with the flasks. Would they have to find dispersed small flasks which had a stamp hanging from them and stamp their paper? Would I give away the small flasks?

Would the small flasks be like the African Passport Masks that were worn as safe passage items before passports, could the flasks be worn round the neck if they were palm sized?

Would they be interested? From experience it can be difficult to engage an audience unless captive. A question to ask the Museum is – are the usual Up Late visitors a captive, keen audience?

The introduction of QR codes and geocaching could engage a virtual community to take part physically. The stamp could contain a QR code that can be scanned on a smart phone.

Is there a local virtual community for the Holburne Museum served by a mailing list? Something I’ve harnessed before for a memory capsule project.

I’m still thinking……. and making, trying to sort out the making of the flasks. Porcelain paper clay arrives tomorrow that is going to solve ALL my problems, ahem.

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