An Old Hand Spun Cotton Furoshiki: Unusual Tsutsugaki Design

$545.00 USD

mid to late nineteenth century
52" x 51 1/2", 132 cm x 131 cm

This majestically simple Japanese folk textile is a tsutsugaki dyed cotton furoshiki, a furoshiki being a traditional square-shaped cloth used for packing, carrying, hauling or storing of goods.

What makes this furoshiki impressive is that it shows so many of the details of what you would want to see in a folk textile: good age, hand spun cottons, rustic design and beauty in all of them.

The freehand resist dyed large central mon or family crest is wonderful for its rather naive depiction of an unusual motif.

The family crest seems to be the not-often-depicted gentian. Because folk renderings can be somewhat misshapen, the image could also be violet or a violet/bamboo hybrid or a gentian/bamboo hybrid. The real point to note about this image is that it intentionally calls to mind an entirely different motif, that of the often-seen paulownia. This oblique reference to another motif is very, very unusual.

The cotton is hand spun and hand woven; the overall fading to the piece shows off these luscious fibers very well. The furoshiki is indigo which was over dyed in a yellow dye stuff thus creating a green and blue color combination which is now significantly softened from time, wear, and light fading.

In each of the four corners we see a kanji or a Chinese character.

The age of this piece is as impressive as its physical details which are rich. For those who love tsutsugaki textiles or Japanese country textiles this is a piece to seriously consider.