A Length of Gauzy, Itajime Dyed Cotton: Incense Naming Symbols

$50.00 USD

early twentieth century
24 1/2" x 13", 62 cm x 33 cm

Shown here is a gauzy fragment of lightweight cotton cloth whose red color was achieved by using a synthetic dye. 

The pattern dyed onto the piece is distinctive as it shows a mirror image repeat, and this distinctive feature of itajime or kyokechi dyeing is illustrated on the accompanying detail photographs. 

In itajime dyeing the pattern is imprinted onto the cloth using a complicated process using hand carved boards and pressure. The technique is called kyokechi or itajime and these fragments of cloth is a classic representation of this process.

The pattern here is interesting as it primarily shows the symbols of Genji ko, an esoteric game involving incense which challenges the players to hold several distinctive fragrances of incense in their mind and name them. As well can be seen roundels of flowers and trees: paulownia, Chinese bellflower, pine, bamboo, chrysanthemum and gourds.

Showing a wonderfully rich and traditionally Japanese design this length is in used, good, condition.