Written on March 24, 2011
I arrived back from Japan late at night on the day before yesterday. With the Japanese disaster weighing heavily on my mind, I thought it would be a good time to show a traditional Japanese motif that conveys good wishes.
Shown today is a very large, six panel, tsutsugaki furoshiki made from hemp; this furoshiki was likely part of a bridal trousseau. The image is auspicious, it depicts a bundle of noshi, or ceremonial dried abalone.Noshi is dried abalone that is stretched into long, ribbon like strips. The word noshi is a homonyn for the word “prolong,” so it became customary to include noshi with a gift as a symbol of longevity and prolonged happiness.The fact that the noshi depicted here reaches into so many different areas is symbolic of fortune finding its way in all directions.Shown here is the back of the furoshiki in order to highlight the many, attractive kasuri woven hemp patches that are used to mend and strengthen this traditional wrapping cloth.In my opinion, this is an excellent example of an old tsutsugaki furoshiki. The indigo is wonderfully faded, the image is rustic and lively, the hemp cloth is rich and is in very good condition. Most likely this piece dates to the Meiji Era (1868-1912).This gorgeous tsutsugaki furoshiki measures 60″ x 65″, 152.5 cm x 165 cm.
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