A Large Tsutsugaki Dyed Fragment: Phoenix, Tortoise, Family Crest

$395.00 USD

late nineteenth, early twentieth century
55" x 37", 140 cm x 94 cm

This beautifully spirited, rustic indigo dyed cotton tstutsugaki cloth shows a centrally-placed family crest of a stylized plum blossom. Atop the crest is a roughly drawn mythical phoenix; under the crest is an equally roughly drawn folk depiction of a tortoise.

The cloth is hand stitched from three panels and it was more than likely taken from a futon cover which was probably part of a bridal trousseau. 

The Buddhist phoenix carries beautiful significance for a wedding: it is believed that phoenix only appear in places that are blessed with utmost peace, prosperity or happiness.

Likewise that the tortoise is a symbol of longevity the two images together seem to broker a wish for the married couple to enjoy an extended era of peace and harmony.

This tsutsugaki textile is undoubtedly crudely drawn in the way that good folk art is: it is not an elegant piece, it is a spirited one and this characteristic infuses the piece with charm and visual delight.

In good, used condition with one patch, fairly prominently placed on the family crest.