An Intensely Pieced Crepe Silk Back Pad: Benibana or Safflower Dyed Silk Backing

$425.00 USD

early to mid twentieth century
20" x 13", 51 cm x 33 cm

This tour de force of piecing and patchwork is hand stitched entirely of tiny slivers or chirimen or crepe silk.

It is a lightly padded back pad--its original purpose is unknown--which is backed with very finely woven lining silk that was dyed in safflower or benibana dye as its called in Japan.

The pattern that underpins this overall design is that of a repeat of contiguous hexagons, 45 full hexagons in total, each one measuring about 2 3/4" x 2 1/4" or 7 cm x 5.5 cm.

Some of the more elaborately pieces hexagons show 11 or more individual and minuscule pieces of silk, something so marvelous to consider that it is almost unfathomable.

The hexagon is linked to the tortoise because it can be viewed as an element of a stylized tortoiseshell. The tortoise is a symbol of long life so it stands to reason that when a hexagon is depicted in Japanese design it is a conveyance of a wish for long life. Maybe extrapolating too far we can hypothesize that this back pad was intended to be used by a child since a long life is always wished for where children are concerned.

There is some light wear to the back pad but generally speaking one can say it is in very good condition with no loss or stains (with the exception of a bit of light fraying to the bottom, right corner shown on detail phots here).

The images here speak for themselves and anyone who decides to acquire this marvel will surely continue to be amazed by it.