A 19th Century Chirimen Silk Furoshiki: Delicate Textile with Botanical Dyes
mid to late nineteenth century
35" x 36", 89 cm x 91.5 cm
What a visually arresting silk cloth.
This is a furoshiki which is a traditional wrapping cloth. Small, fancy silk furoshiki like this one are used for wrapping special offerings, so often they bear an interesting design, as this one does.
This furoshiki is hand stitched from very lightweight chirimen or crepe silk. It is hand stitched from three pieces of chirimen cloth.
The bold design seems to be dyed from botanical dyes. The greater portion of the cloth is resist dyed in green and "white" diamonds, while one corner of the cloth is shibori dyed in what appears to be shikon or gromwell root, which yields a purple color. This corner would have been shown prominently when the furoshiki was wrapped around an object of presentation; the purple corner would have been prominently displayed when wrapped properly.
Overall the color of the cloth is dingy with age. The undyed diamonds show the ingrained dirt more than the green or purple passages do. The "white" areas are now grey in color. There are also a few areas of loss to the silk, which can be seen in the accompanying photos.
Still, these flaws do not detract from this very attractive old wrapping cloth, which shows very good age and character.