A Very Faded Tsutsugaki Panel: Detail of a Phoenix
late nineteenth century
40" x 13 3/4", 101.5 cm x 35 cm
This fragment of cloth was taken from an elaborated decorated futon cover which was more than likely commissioned as part of a bridal trousseau in the late nineteenth century.
We see here a very faded section of a traditional motif: the legendary phoenix. The mythical bird is rendered here in the tsutsugaki or freehand paste resist method. Tsutsugaki is a technique that requires a good deal of experience and artistry as images are drawn directly onto cloth with rice paste that is extruded from a cone or "pastry bag" by a master artisan.
On this piece we see a good amount of resisted, hand drawn detail as well as some beautifully faded hand-applied colors.
The cloth itself shows a good deal of patina and wear with fading, small holes and some surface scuffing.
Still this is a beautiful caption from a larger piece, a traditional futon cover from Japan's Meiji era (1868-1912).