A Length of San'in Gasuri: Tigers and Carp

$120.00 USD

early twentieth century
56 3/4" x 13", 144 cm x 33 cm

This gorgeous length of indigo dyed cotton kasuri or ikat cloth is typical of the type made in what used to be called San'in, which is now  present day Tottori Prefecture in western Honshu.   

Often in San'in gasuri you will see images designed as this one is: a striped background against which a weft kasuri pattern is woven.  

This particular length of San'in gasuri is notable for its rare inclusion of both beautifully drawn carp as well as tigers in bamboo, two very strongly symbolic images.

Carp are notable symbols in the imagination of Japanese folk lore which, in turn borrowed it from the Chinese: it is thought that if a carp can successfully jump up a waterfall to the top his valor will transform him into a dragon. Dragons bring rain and can symbolize heaven.

“Dragons bring the clouds,” according to an old Chinese proverb, while “tigers call forth the wind.” ...the wind seems to swirl through a crouching tiger’s bamboo grove and into the clouds, revealing a dragon. The tiger turns its head as if sensing the turbulent weather to come. As the dragon and tiger govern the elemental forces of wind and rain, they were revered as rulers of the cosmos and the natural world. Their symbolic pairing was believed to bring about the blessings of rain and peace. (This passage quoted from "Animals in Japanese Folklore," National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.)

The cotton and the color tone on this piece are both strong and vibrant; the images are fantastically well rendered, and, they too, is lively.

A wonderful, wonderful piece of kasuri with a rarely seen combination of motifs, and one that is highly recommended.

A Length of San'in Gasuri: Tigers and Carp