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A Proud and Elegant Tsutsugaki Boro Futon Cover: Pauwlonia and Chrystanemums

Written on February 12, 2010

Shown today is a faded, patched and elegant indigo dyed cotton boro futon cover which most likely was originally made in the late 19th century.  This beauty has been reassembled from a sleeping yogi–a kimono shaped duvet– and has had a long life keeping people warm at night.

tsutsu1The large, encircled flower motif is a kamon or a family crest, and it shows a stylized paulownia flower.  Paulownia, or kiri, is the only terrestrial object that the legendary Chinese and Japanese phoenix will alight upon, and the phoenix will drink dew from the petals of this flower–according to legend, of course.  This kamon, and the other flower motives shown on this repurposed yogi, were applied using a the tsutsugaki method of freehand paste resist dyeing.

The tea cup sitting on the antique Korean stool in the photo above is the work of Hanako Nakazato, of the famous Karatsu, Japan dynasty of potters.  Her work is simply gorgeous and you can find it at Sara, in NYC.tsutsu1aThe fading of the blue from its original deep, rich tones  to this palette of  powdery hues is just beautiful.  The bottom of this futon cover shows a dance of stylized, hand drawn chrysanthemums and paulownia flowers.  What a magnificently artful arrangement of forms the tsutsugaki artist rendered on this yogi.tsutsu1b


tsutsu1dThe fading and the repairs add character to this piece–as do the dark blue, cotton patches that are collaged on the surface.tsutsu1e

tsutsu1fThe hand spun cotton threads add an intrinsic integrity to this piece, and they also enrich the surface of  this old and rustic Japanese country textile.tsutsu1g



Comments closed

  1. Comment by visualingual:

    Wow, I love all the textiles you’re showing here, and especially the way the photos get closer and closer to show both the over all effect and the details. You’re got beautifully textured and patterned wares, and I love learning a bit more through your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    February 13, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  2. Comment by handmadecharlotte:

    ohhh la la ! i love this piece!

    February 15, 2010 @ 3:26 pm