This was an amazing find. This is called "型紙" or "katagami". This is a stencil that was used to make "kashigata" (for more information on "kashigata please see below).
This one is shape of "Kanzashi" (Japanese Traditional Style Hairpin).
They are from the "昭和" "showa period" . The "showa" period is from 1926-1989 but these are at about 25-30 years old .
This one is made from paper-but not flimsy normal paper....this is wonderful thick Japanese paper and it is in fabulous condition.
This stencil could be used but it would also be fabulous framed and hung on a wall.
The stencil measures about 17 x 9 cm.
More information on "kashigata" (the sweets made from the molds that were made using the stencils).
In the past, when a person died, it was expensive to give flowers or fresh food so, people made sweets (these are made from soy flour, rice flour and sugar) in the form of flowers, fish etc. These items were then placed on the "butsudan" (family shrine found in the house) for the dead person.
The sweets was also used for holiday celebrations, tea ceremony etc. These are for decoration only-they are never eaten.