A Cotton Tsutsugaki Panel: Plum, Pine and Bamboo
ca. late nineteenth, early twentieth century
42" x 13 1/2", 106.5 cm x 34 cm
Shown here is a length of tsutsugaki dyed cotton; tsutsugaki is a free hand paste resist technique wherein an artist draws with rice paste directly onto cloth, the areas which are drawn are resistant to dye.
This panel is from a furoshiki, or a traditional wrapping cloth. The top, right hand corner area is a warm brown color and the rest of the cloth is a steel grey-blue color. Within the steel grey-blue are we can see simply, but beautifully, rendered images of stylized pine, bamboo and plum.
Together these three motifs are called shochikubai and they are auspicious: pine means longevity and conjugal fidelity, bamboo is resilience as it bends but never breaks, and plum is courage as it is the first flower to emerge from winter ice.
On the reverse of this cloth there are some swirls of missing dye, these swirls can be very faintly seen on the surface of this cloth here.