A Meiji Era Katazome Sampler: 8 Full Designs, 2 Half Designs

$295.00 USD

late nineteenth century
69" x 13 3/4", 175 cm x 35 cm, 
each image is 7 7/8" x 13 3/4" or 20 cm x 35 cm

This length of indigo dyed katazome cloth is called mihon or a sampler.  It shows eight whole designs and two half-designs.

Originally this was used by a katazome dyer to allow prospective clients the choice of a particular pattern; by the looks of the turned-under edges of this length, and the slight fading and discoloration from wear, it seems that this mihon was repurposed and was stitched to become a futon cover.  

The patterns shown are, from the top: chrysanthemum and arabesque (three times), phoenix and paulownia flowers set in hexagons or tortoiseshell, chrysanthemum, chrysanthemum and arabesque, stylized chrysanthemum and bamboo, stylized chrysanthemum within hexagons or tortoiseshell, chrysanthemum and arabesque (two times).

Eight of the patterns are highlighted with bengara, an orange-toned iron oxide derived dye.

This is a real treasure from old Japan, and one that is able to convey an aspect of life in a long-gone era.