A Pictorial Pieced Crepe Silk Bag: Crane, Tortoise and More
ca. late nineteenth, early twentieth century
9" x 9" x 7", 23 cm x 23 cm x 18 cm
This is a fanciful, drawstring bag that is adorned with many images that are assembled from pieces of chirimen or crepe silk. Some of the loops though which the drawstring are strung are missing, so the bag does not close as was intended.
Still, this is a vibrant and wonderful looking old bag. The bottom is lined with board so it is stiff. It shows the famous image coupling of crane and tortoise, two symbols of long life with the crane also being a reference to conjugal fidelity.
Around the bag we see really lovely images also rendered in cloth with some hand applied details: a court lady, a samurai, a camelia and an old, noble pine tree, Really lovely, and all the images call up the essence of high minded Japanese culture. Clearly this bag was meant for a young girl to carry.
Aside from the misfortune of incomplete drawstring loops, this old bag is in fine condition, is really intense with images, and will make a welcome addition to almost any interior.