ca. late nineteenth century
44" x 37", 111.5 cm x 94 cm
This tsutsugaki--or free hand paste resist dyed--furoshiki, a traditional wrapping cloth, is decorated with many auspicious symbols, and, as such it seems that it was probably one component of a larger bridal trousseau.
The centrally placed family crest shows the crossed arrow feather kamon; this crest is situated within a traditional snow crystal design and is surrounded by symbols of well-wishing.
There are four motifs shown, three of which can be grouped together as one, that of plum blossoms, bamboo and pine, the combination of design motifs being called shochikubai in Japan.
Shochikubai is a classic, auspicious pattern and it is
often used for cloth to be included in a bridal trousseau. The plum is
the first bloom to burst forth from the winter's ice and is symbol of
strength, the bamboo bends but does not break so it is a symbol of
resilience, and the pine, of course conveys a wish for longevity. Also,
pine needles fall in pairs, and thus they are a motif often used at
We also see a folding fan, beautifully rendered. The folding fan is the symbol of "the opening of things," in this case, that of the future of a marital relationship.
This furoshiki has been used well, as can be seen by the light sun fading and by the light surface abrasion. As well, there are two tears to the piece, which have been mended by hand.
Beautiful--and what an appropriate wedding gift this would make.