A Length of Taisho Sarasa: Early Twentieth Century Indian Inspired Japanese Design

$90.00 USD

early twentieth century
56" x 13 1/4", 142 cm x 33.5 cm

Throughout centuries of Japan's history the upper classes admired and collected Indian trade cloth which they referred to as sarasa. Some of it they commissioned directly from India, specifying certain patterns a colors to be used while other pieces were purchased directly from India and showed traditional Indian patterns.

The Japanese admired sarasa so much that they started making their own cloth that suggested the original.

In the early twentieth century cloth of Japanese manufacture that was evocative of Indian trade cloth--but more in keeping with Japanese taste--became popular. However it was designed in different patterns and in different colors than the Indian inspiration and this piece is an example.

This cloth is referred to as Taisho sarasa. Taisho refers to the Taisho era when it was most popular (1912-1926).

The pattern depicted here is that of small, multi-toned hexagons in a repeat pattern, the hexagon shape in Japanese design refers to tortoiseshell which, in turn, conveys a wish for a long life.

The cotton is machine loomed, lightweight and it does not have one of its selvedges which is typical for this kind of cloth. There are ingrained creases from its former life as an under kimono or a kimono lining.

Lovely--and more interesting than it might appear if you do not know the cultural background on this kind of cloth.