A Length of Unusual Katazome Cotton: Tako Karakusa
late nineteenth, early twentieth century
36" x 13 1/2", 91.5 cm x 34 cm
This short length of katazome dyed cotton is jam packed with beautiful images, and its dyeing--using several colors--is complex and beautifully realized.
The crowded pattern shows a phoenix, line-rendered in a marumon or roundel form. This ghost image sits among a ground of richly colored paulownia flowers dyed blue, white, grey and orange and a form of arabesque called tako karakusa where the curved line assumes the character of an octopus tentacle, here shown in white, black and orange (the orange probably being an iron oxide-derived pigment dye).
The condition of the cloth is very good.
The details in its design are superb.
A fantastic length of old katazome, which is head and shoulders above the rest for its strong design and for the several colors used to realize it.
Superb and recommended.