A Length of Beautiful Kasuri Cloth: Auspicious Symbols
ca. late nineteenth, early twentieth century
61" x 13 3/4", 155 cm x 35 cm
This length of indigo dyed cotton is hand woven and is of the kind of cloth called kasuri or ikat, a dyeing technique where in yarns are tied and resisted when dyed, and when woven, the resisted areas create patterns, and in this case, images.
The indigo dyed is dark and dense and the cotton is nice in the hand. The woven pattern is bold: aside from the obvious arrangement of checked areas, inside these boxes we see stylized well covers (a kind of tic tac toe pattern) and also we see two, repeated images of auspiciousness, the ceremonial noshi and the crane. Noshi is a design representing dried strips of abalone, traditionally attached to a gift as an auspicious symbol. The crane, of course, is equally rich in meaning: it represents long life, it is a symbol of beauty and elegance, and it also conveys a wish for conjugal fidelity, as cranes mate for life.
The cotton cloth is in good condition, and as is obvious from the accompanying photographs, is beautifully graphic in its design.