A Meiji Era Katazome Sampler: 13 Different Designs
ca. late nineteenth century
72" x 12 3/4", 183 cm x 32.5 cm,
each image is 6" x 12 3/4" or 15.25 cm x 32.5 cm
This length of indigo dyed katazome cloth is called mihon or a sampler. It shows eleven 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, it seems that this mihon was repurposed and was stitched to become (most likely) a futon cover.
The patterns shown are: peonies and arabesques, cranes and pine, a variant of peonies and arabesque, chrysanthemum and arabesque, repeated chrysanthemum, tortoise shell and crane motif, stylized chrysanthemum and arabesque, tortoise shell, chrysanthemum and wisteria, cranes and folding fans, noshi, stylized cherry blossoms, tortoishell and floral motifs, and finally, chrysanthemum.
Midway down the panel, through one of the designs showing stylized chrysanthemums, there is a rather faint but long, brown stain that can be seen in the accompanying detail photos.
This is a real treasure from old Japan, and one that is able to convey an aspect of life in a long-gone era.