Written on June 30, 2010
Shown today is a mid-to-late nineteenth century, indigo dyed cotton tsutsugaki yogi, a sleeping kimono onto which auspicious symbols have been hand drawn and resist-dyed.
Most likely this yogi was part of a larger trousseau of items that were offered to a newly married couple, the trousseau usually consisting of one or more futon covers, diapers, furoshiki or wrapping cloths and the like. This yogi is not worn on the body, but rather it is laid over the body as a duvet would be: this yogi would have been stuffed with some kind of wadding–cotton or other–to provide warmth. The original wadding has been taken from this sleeping kimono.The top, central roundel design shows a tortoise and a crane. The crane is a symbol of long life and conjugal fidelity as cranes mate for life. The tortoise, too, is a wish for longevity, both for the life of the couple and for that of the marriage.The image, below, is that of the pine. Again, pine–being evergreen–is a symbol of long life, but as its needles fall in pairs, it is also a talisman bestowing good things to the married couple.Bamboo, below, is a wonderful symbol as it suggests resilience–it bends but does not break.This yogi is hand woven from hand spun cotton and is faded beautifully. As well, it is nicely patched and mended as it has been used very well since it was made, well over 100 years ago.