A Very Tall Tsutsugaki Textile: Layered Images from a Workshop

$345.00 USD

early twentieth century
88" x 28 1/2", 223.5 cm x 72.5 cm

This curious and beautifully nuanced cloth is something that was either used in a tsutsugaki artisan's workshop or is, in fact, a tsutsugaki dyed banner or nobori bata, that was cut, patched and overdyed in indigo to create the mysterious--and quite tall--textile offered here. The latter presumption seems to be the more accurate one.

nobori bata or a banner is a cloth that, in the old days, was intended to be displayed in front of a family home in order to celebrate the sons of the family on the May 5 (5/5) annual boys day festival.

Generally speaking images of masculine virtues such as confidence, bravery and strength were portrayed on the banners often in the form of samurai in battle or of legendary or mythical heroes. We see evidence of this here as two faces appear out of the blue dyed ground.

This kind of over-dyed, re-used type of cloth was not uncommon in Japan where a use was found for almost anything where it be new, used, re-used or re-combined.

The subtlety of the images as they emerge from the over dyed background makes for an intriguing challenge to try to find as many recognizable images as possible. 

At the same time the substantial size of this cloth begs to be used in multiple ways: just to admire it for its unique beauty or to create a home or fashion accessory from it.

This is a wonderfully rich old boro cloth.