A 19th Century Silk Furoshiki: Gorgeous Katazome and Colored Piecing
ca. late nineteenth century
43" x 39", 109 cm x 99 cm
This is a really lovely silk fursohiki, a kind of traditional wrapping or presentation cloth, which was commonly used in old Japan. Its front and its back are two very different visual experiences, the front being somber and low-key, with the back being composed of jewel toned silks.
Both sides are hand stitched from silk, and by the look of the silk it seems that this wrapping cloth was made in the 19th century.
The grey colored, resist dyed silk of the front of the furoshiki shows a repeat pattern of bamboo; the "medium" size of this subtle repeat was referred to as chuugata in old Japan, and it was a popular kind of cloth in the 19th century, for those who could afford it. The overall condition of this deep grey silk is good.
The back side of the furoshiki is deeply colored and is variegated in its color tones. Fuchshia, deep blue/purple and graphite grey silk fragments are pieced together, about six in all, with the fuchsia pieces showing splitting from age. Please see the accompanying detail photos for close-ups on the splits to the silk.
An now-indecipherable tag showing five kanji is affixed to the top, left-hand corner of the cloth.
A really lovely old, traditional cloth, and one that is rich in hand loomed cloth and contains a whiff of life in 19th century Japan.