A Panel of Indigo Dyed CottonTsutsugaki: Sliver of Auspicious Noshi
early twentieth century
55" x 12 1/2", 139.75 cm x 32 cm
This is a length of indigo dyed cotton which is dyed in the tsutsugaki method, a technique where an artist draws directly onto cloth with rice paste: the artist squeezes rice paste from a tstutsu which is like a pastry bag. The areas which are drawn are resistant to the dye bath the the cloth is immersed in.
Seen on this length of cloth taken from a furoshiki is a sliver of a larger image, that of noshi. Noshi is dried abalone that is stretched into long, ribbon like strips. The word noshi is a homonyn for the word “prolong,” so it became customary to include noshi with a gift as a symbol of longevity and prolonged happiness.
Embedded within the stylized design of the noshi we see depictions of the Buddhist flaming pearl, another auspicious symbol.
As can be seen by carefully looking at the accompanying detail photos, this length of cloth is patched and faded, and, as well, it shows a few sprays of faint staining.
Still this is a really lovely length of cloth that conjures a strong mood of old Japan.