A Beautifully Faded Katazome Panel: Folding Fans, Asagi Blue
late nineteenth century
60" x 19 3/4", 152.5 cm x 50 cm
What a gorgeous pattern, what a beautiful color and what fantastic, hand spun cotton threads have come together to create this marvelous length of katazome cloth.
This faded beauty is hand stitched from three separate pieces of cloth, each of which of the same pattern, that of a lyrical field of folding fans.
The original color of this cloth was a medium-tone blue which has faded to a very pale, warm sky-blue color; the entire right-hand side of the cloth has faded out and has lost much of its color as can be seen in the accompanying detail photographs.
As the folding fan is a Japanese invention, it was used as a motif in textiles and in other areas of design. When placed on textiles such as this one, we can extrapolate that this cloth was probably meant for bedding for a newly married couple since the folding fan is a symbol for "the opening of relationships," which applies nicely to newlyweds.
By looking at the detail photos that accompany this posting you can see that this piece of cloth has been used hard: there is overall fading, there is that strip of extreme fading to the right hand side, and there are a few, small stains the size of rice grains, also shown on the photos here.
But it is the fantastic color, pattern and quality of the hand spun cotton that make this cloth as desirable as it is.
A wonderful everyday textile from old Japan.