A Tsutsugaki Two Panel Cloth: Marumon
late nineteenth century
56" x 26", 142.25 cm x 33 cm
This well-worn, two panel length of indigo dyed cotton was dyed in the tsutsugaki method, a technique where designs are hand drawn are drawn freehand directly on to cloth using rice paste, which resists dye when the piece is submerged in a dye vat.
This length shows a wonderful type of image which is repeated five times in different patterns, that of the roundel, or marumon, image, a personal favorite.
Five mon or crests are shown here, each one a version of stylized plant or flower. The tsutsugaki drawing is rustic as each mon is rendered in wide, sometimes unsure lines, but the result is charming and the overall effect of the five staggered roundels is pleasing to the eye.
The cotton base is of hand spun, hand woven cotton. The cotton has worn thin from use and is backed by patches, shown on the accompanying photographs here.
A small treasure for those interested in tsutsugaki or Japanese folk cloth because depictions of marumon, even these very simple, folk iterations, are not easy to find.