An Early 19th Century Tenugui: Beautifully Dyed, Good Age

$125.00 USD

early to mid nineteenth century
11 3/4" x 32", 30 cm x 81 cm

This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire an Edo period tenugui a collectible cotton textile from old Japan which are known for their delicate hues and their charming designs.

A tenugui is a traditional cotton hand towel that is ubiquitous in Japan because of its many uses.  It can be used to mop sweat from a brow in summer; it can be worn on the head, kerchief-like, while working; it can be twisted and worn as a sweat band like sushi chefs do: there are endless ways to use a tenugui.

Sometimes these oblong lengths of cotton are used by stores as a give away, sometimes as gifts at new year, other time for store promotions.  Sometimes tenugui are brought back from trips as souvenirs if they are imprinted with a specialized image specific to certain region or town.

This one with its pale blue background--typical of Edo period tenugui--shows three images against a background of perfectly tangled blossoming plum branches. The three images are a raised plate of fruit, a sparrow and a Mt. Fuji-esque mountain. Each image shows gradient tones of grey and blue, dyed in the chuusen method.

The cloth is slightly starched and of course it shows patina from wear.

Just beautiful.


An Early 19th Century Tenugui: Beautifully Dyed, Good Age