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A Large, Magnificently Dyed Noren: Stylized Wisteria Crest

Written on April 22, 2011

What a marvelous design, an over sized family crest or kamon, depicting stylized wisteria, or fuji, beautifully centered on a four panel indigo dyed cotton noren, or traditional door covering.
Of course I am showing this hand spun, hand woven indigo cotton noren now: in just a few weeks we will be seeing wisteria in full bloom.The crest is resist dyed–the Japanese resist method uses rice paste to cover and protect an area of cloth from dye.  In the case of this noren, I am not so sure the mon was drawn by hand using the tsutsugaki method as is often the case: a very large stencil may have been used to guide the rice paste onto the cloth–but maybe not.The circular forms are so perfectly circular.  To me this is really impressive.  And the resist dyeing on this is clean, clear and very elegant.I love the way the stylized wisteria flowers cascade downward in a gentle curve and become incrementally smaller as they bend; there is almost a fractal-like quality to this traditional design motif.The cotton is beautiful.  The selvedges are rough and wonderful.  The size proportion of the mon in relation to the size of the noren is just right.  Most likely this noren dates to the late nineteenth century.This beauty measures 65″ x 55″ or 165 cm x 139.5 cm.

4 Comments

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  1. Comment by Amy:

    Gorgeous! From the pictures, it looks like the noren may be made of 4 widths of fabric sewn together (i.e. the noren openings look like selvedges). Is that right?

    April 22, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  2. Comment by Stephen:

    Correct: four selvedged pieces stitched together at the top.

    April 22, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  3. Comment by Amy:

    Thanks for answering!

    April 22, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  4. Comment by Angela:

    It’s beautiful, I bought a black lacquered small tansu recently with the self same kamon design, I love it.

    April 25, 2011 @ 7:34 pm