A Repaired and Resist Dyed Noren: Pharmacy Sign
early twentieth century
50 1/4" x 51", 127.5 cm x 129.5 cm
This is a hand stitched, resisted, indigo dyed cotton noren, a kind of curtain which, in this case is a shop sign: it once hung in front of a druggist's shop. In Japan noren such as this could be used to announce if a store was open: by placing the noren in front of the shop's front door one knows that the establishment is open for business. The noren also provides a kind of transitional moment between being on the street and entering an enclosed space.
This one has been well-used, as can be seen on the detail photographs. It is hand stitched of four cotton panels which are woven in traditional Japanese loom widths. The surface is slightly faded and the indigo color has softened and been mottled by years of use. Also, as you can see, there are two repairs on the two center panels of the cotton; there is also a patch to the farthest, left-hand panel.
The noren is a softened, blue color, quite uniform although varied in density and tone by light fading.
A lovely thing with a dramatic presence.