A Finely Rendered and Beautifully Colored Tsutsugaki Panel: Buddhist Lotus

$395.00 USD

late nineteenth century
outer dimension: 58 1/2" x 19 1/4", 148.5 cm x 49 cm
image size: 50" x 13", 127 cm x 33 cm

This is a finely rendered, beautifully realized tsutsugaki dyed image of a fiery red-orange lotus blossom, fully in bloom, lifting itself out of still water to be crowned majestically in the air.

Quoted from here we have this thoughtful rumination of the importance of the lotus in Buddhist thought:

"Because the lotus grows in muddy water, it symbolizes the purity of enlightened mind arising amidst the suffering of samsara. It also represents nonattachment, as it is rooted in mud (attachment and desire) but its flowers blossom on long stalks unsullied by the mud below.

The famous Tibetan mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, meaning “OM the Jewel in the Lotus HUM,” invokes Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), the bodhisattva of compassion. In this case, the lotus represents wisdom and the jewel symbolizes skillful means.

Different-colored lotuses have different meanings. The white lotus represents mental purity and spiritual perfection. The red lotus is the symbol of love and compassion. The blue lotus represents wisdom and intelligence and is always pictured partially opened. A gold lotus represents the achievement of complete enlightenment."

This particular lotus is one of a pair so we can assume from this that this pair of folk renderings of a lotus was meant to flank a deity at a Buddhist temple.

The drawing is extremely fine and the hand that drew this lotus was steady. The image of the lotus blooming high above the cool blue water is a complete representation of the flower. The image is rich and the drawing--and the dyeing--is skilled.

The cotton base cloth is exceedingly finely woven which, when this piece was found in Japan, led to some speculation as to whether or not the cotton was Japanese in origin or if it was imported, probably from India or China. Pure speculation.

At some point, perhaps recently, the tsutsugaki dyed image was hand stitched to a pieced, heavily woven, deeply dyed indigo cotton background. The pair of the lotus images is backed like this, on indigo dyed cotton.

This is a special offering and a beautiful one. There needs to be no discourse on the beauty of this image and it is offered here with pride.

Very recommended.