Written on March 5, 2010
What a striking, paste resist, indigo dyed cotton noren or door covering. It is sewn from six panels which creates an almost monumental presence, the actual size being 68″ x 73″ or 163 cm x 185.5 cm.
Centrally placed is the large, mon, or family crest, in this case it is an unusual, stylized rendering of kashiwa or oak. Beneath the mon in stepped formation is the wonderfully zigzag matsukawa bishi or pine bark motif.This noren probably dates to the early twentieth century–perhaps just a bit earlier. Its size indicates that it was probably meant to hang in front of a building; also indicative of this is the very tightly woven, heavy cotton which would have been strong enough to withstand the elements, street traffic and its dust and dirt.Notice how the matsukawa bishi pattern interlocks and creates another iteration of itself in the negative spaces? Notice, too, how the selvedge edge of each panel is finished: each edge is back stitched in contrasting, white thread.This is a beautifully designed, beautifully executed old noren.