A Length of Katazome Cotton: Complex Design and Color
late nineteenth, early twentieth century
32" x 13", 81.25 cm x 33 cm
This is a really beautifully designed and executed fragment of katazome dyed cotton from old Japan.
The pattern is complex: it shows folding fans rendered in roundels, along with other circular motifs containing plum blossom, pine and bamboo.
Because the congregation of motifs and symbols are highly auspicious they indicate that this length was taken from a futon cover that was offered to a newly married couple at the time of their wedding.
The folding fan--a Japanese invention--is shown because it represents the opening of a relationship.
The combination of pine, plum and bamboo is a classic Japanese motif called shochikubai: the design triad conveys good wishes. Plum shows courage as its blossoms, the first of the year, burst forth from under ice; the bamboo is resilience since it bends but does not break; the pine is a symbol of long life and also of a faithful marriage as its needles fall in pairs.
The colors shown on the cloth are rich and beautiful, the indigo itself is of a very lovely, warm blue color.
A wonderful length of indigo dyed cotton.