A Stunningly Good Fireman's Coat: Hand Spun Cotton and Gorgeous Resist Design
late nineteenth century
32 3/4" x 46 1/2", 83 cm x 118 cm
This is an extremely beautiful Japanese textile and should be considered seriously by any collector of Japanese folk textiles.
This is a gorgeously patterned, resist dyed cotton fireman's coat, the surface design of which is of superior quality: what we see is a staggered placement of large-scale, very stylized kanji that are ingeniously positioned all over the surface of the coat.
The intelligence that went into this design is one of the hallmarks of Japanese textile design, and is one of the great reasons that Japanese textile patterns are admired as highly as they are.
The coat itself shows good age through its hand spun cotton yarns and by its hand loomed cotton cloth. These qualities, especially the hand spun cotton, are not to be down played: these are what add value and interest to old Japanese textiles and, in this case, they also bring visual interest to this stunning piece through the subtle texture they show.
The fabulously resist dyed coat is lined with cotton that is hand spun and hand loomed. It is dyed a medium brown color, a beautiful contrast to the warm indigo, whites and grey of the outside surface which shows repairs, amply illustrated in the accompanying detail photographs.
A stunning thing, anyone who acquires this piece should feel fortunate to own such a beautiful object from old Japan.