A Graphically Interesting Tsutsugaki Fragment: Auspicious Noshi
ca. late nineteenth century
37" x 13 1/4", 94 cm x 33.5 cm
This hand spun, hand woven cotton fragment shows a portion of a tsutsugaki dyed noshi, or auspicious abalone, an image often used on celebratory textiles in old Japan.
Noshi is dried abalone that is stretched into long, ribbon like strips. The word noshi is a homonyn for the word “prolong,” so it became customary to include noshi with a gift as a symbol of longevity and prolonged happiness.
It is more than likely that the textile from which this fragment was taken was made expressly for a couple's wedding trousseau--wedding trousseau textiles are often decorated with exuberant designs, and the designs always represent a good-intentioned wish of fair tidings for the newly married couple.
Aside from the really beautiful cotton that was used as a base for this lovely hand dyed textile, the pale blue and white design elements which play in contrast against the deep, indigo background make for a beautiful visual experience. Please note the small stains which are shown in the photos, attached.
A really lovely, traditional Japanese textile--and a hard one to resist.