An Elaborately Figured Length of Katazome Cloth: Double Sided Hemp or Ramie
ca. early twentieth century
59" x 13", 150 cm x 33 cm
This is a wonderfully elaborate yet subtle length of hand woven, hand plied hemp cloth which is dyed in the katazome or stencil resist dyed method. Just beautiful.
The overall pattern is that of a field of small and graceful phoenixes amid a background of peonies and arabesques; the indigo color is light blue, a much admired color in Japan which is referred to as asagi.
The visual quality of the resisted design is of the same clarity on the front and the back of this length of cloth, which suggests that the cloth was stencil resisted on its two sides.
The subtle, delicate dyed pattern is foiled by two, curved, solid, dark, over dyed areas: why these two dark portions were added to the cloth is anyone's guess. The surface also shows a short, narrow slit to the cloth on its top quadrant, right-hand side, which is easily seen on the accompanying photographs.
An absolutely beautiful length of cloth which is a bit unusual and shows some visual surprises.