CULTURE

Japanese Room Transoms, Ranma

2013.06.13 [CULTURE,WHAT'S NEW]

Japanese Room Transoms, Ranma

Ranma are the transom like architectural divider details found above sliding doors and below
the ceilings in traditional Japanese architecture.

 

Ranma serve to allow the flow of air from one adjoining room to another, as well as providing
a focal point in the mostly sparsely decorated Japanese rooms. The ranma were often made in pairs,
or as sets for whole rooms, however being handmade, no two ranma are ever the same.

 

 

Ranma often depict scenes from nature, such as gnarled and withered trees, bamboo, maple leaves,
mountain scenes, bridges and rivers, either carved as a relief or cut from panels of wood. Animals
including cranes, tortoises, birds of prey, tigers and dragons are other frequently used themes.
Geometric shapes and patterns including family crests are also often seen. Ceder, cypress and zelkova
or keyaki wood is often used, and the wood is sometimes secured in place by lacquered frames.

 

 

Top artisans would often sign their work by carving their names within the relief work.

 

Sizes vary from as small as 100 cm up to 160 cm or larger. Although they are traditionally used as
decorative fills for spaces above doors, because of their artistic beauty and creative three dimensional
intricate carving, Ranma are nowadays also used as wall hangings, decorative accents and even bed
head displays. 

 


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