A Beautifully Painted Hand Plied Hemp or Ramie Furoshiki: Ayu

$495.00 USD

late nineteenth century
44 1/4" x 49", 112 cm x 124.5 cm

This is a beautifully executed hemp or ramie furoshiki that was woven with hand plied yarns. The cloth itself is quite finely woven and is light in the hand, a true mark of excellent quality hemp or ramie weaving.

Because furoshiki are wrapping cloths usually used for hauling or storing and because this one is such of such a precious and regal type it must have been prized and used ceremonially instead of as an everyday, utilitarian cloth.

The furoshiki is dyed overall in a light-colored, warm toned indigo, a color which is difficult to achieve in dyeing because of its pale color--any mottling or mistakes in dyeing would be immediately noticeable.

The star of this furoshiki, of course, is the group of five beautifully hand painted ayu or the small, smelt-like fish which are associated with summertime and are prized as a delicacy.  

The ayu are rendered in the yuzen technique that employs the resisting of cloth and the hand painting of it, too. In the best examples--and this is a very good one--the high level of artistry and technique of the artist who painted the image is quite evident. Painting directly onto cloth in this manner takes a great and practiced skill.

The cloth itself has a smattering of light stains (shown in detail photos) and some faint surface discoloration. The right and left hand sides of the furoshiki are finished by hand in a backstitch.

The family crest at the top, right corner of the cloth seems to be a combination of the diamond flower and the well cover designs and this is illustrated as a detail photo here, too.

This is a really beautiful, delicately rendered and presented old furoshiki, showing a high level of artistic skill in the technique of traditional dyeing.

Very recommended.