February 15, 2014
When I first saw these three panels from a futon cover I thought the large, multi-toned indigo dyed image was a phoenix; having a better look it was clear that this image is a peacock, an image not often seen on folk textiles.
The peacock was resist dyed, possibly using a set of stencils, the technique is called katazome. Or, maybe, this image was made using a combination of katazome with a free hand resist dyeing technique called tsutsugaki. And what a complex image this is–and what a large one, too. The peacock itself measures 27″ x 32″, 68.5 cm x 81 cm.
The three panels are taken from a futon cover and as you can see by the wonderful fading on the indigo dyed cotton, this futonji was used hard.
The level of detail on this piece is just fantastic–it’s a beautifully realized rendering.
It probably dates to the late nineteenth century and its overall dimensions are 71″ x 37 1/2″ or 180.5 cm x 95 cm. I will be listing this for sale on the webshop in the next few weeks.
In: Tags: futonji, katazome
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July 5, 2012
It’s HOT in New York–and humid, too. That said, there is nothing like the stifling heat and humidity of a Japanese summer to put New York to shame. Japan’s a wet furnace in high summer, and there is little escape, except to never leave air conditioning, which is nearly impossible to do.Enter cooling patterns on hemp or ramie textiles which are rendered in asagi or pale blue. The mere sight of these lyrical images and the icy blue color brings a bit of psychological relief from the pressing heat–and this is exactly what these textiles were meant to do: suggest subtle breezes, running mountain water, a cool clearing in the forest.
These panels are taken from a summer futon cover: the linen feel of ramie or hemp cloth is much preferable to the heavier touch of water-saturating cotton cloth. Ramie and hemp textiles are crisp and they graze the body; they don’t cling to you in the same was that cotton does.
The swirling patterns, too, help conjure cooling thoughts. On a particularly hot summer day in Japan, I remember welcoming the sight of rich, blue hydrangeas, whose color shaved ten degrees off the heat. Or so it seemed.
Summer yukatas or the unlined, casual kimonos that are often worn at onsen or hot springs, are usually patterned with these heat-alleviating designs. On a very hot day, which leads to a very hot evening, any help to escape the uncomfortable temperatures is welcome, even if help comes in the form of a pretty pattern.
And I bet that you feel a few degrees cooler just looking at these photos….don’t you?
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January 11, 2009
What a gorgeous textile this is, made of countless pieces of silk and silk brocade fabric, each piece backed with paper and hand stitched together, creating this amazing, complex and dazzling geometric mosaic of cloth.
No doubt this dates from the late Edo Period, an educated guess would place this sometime in the late eighteenth century. This is a temple fabric, used in a Buddhist temple and made from pieces of cloth which were most likely donated to temple by patrons.
I am not sure the exact use of this cloth, however it could very well be for a priest to stand upon while performing rituals to the temple deity, or, too, it could be used in a sanctimonious way, perhaps for a holy object or statue to be placed upon, however I believe it was used in the former manner.
Really pay attention to the kind of work that went in to making this. This is not a large piece, it measures 37″ x 29″, 94 cm x 74 cm and each one of the complex squares which comprise the piece measures only 4″, 10 cm square. Therefore, when you notice that most squares are formed of multiple, small pieces of paper-backed cloth, you have to imagine how small some of these individual scraps really are; this adds to the appreciation of the skill and patience necessary to sew this magnificent textile artwork.
The color palette is beautifully muted, with some flecks of gold–it is never garish, though. The wonderful, soft tones of color are due to age, but the color is also due to the botanical dyes used to dye these marvelous, richly woven silks. Botanical dyes age gracefully and beautifully.
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September 15, 2008
Welcome to Sri Threads
a companion to Sri, a website that sells antique Japanese folk textiles and vintage Indian textiles, primarily.
I’m starting this blog to provide a glimpse into my gallery for those who live too far away to visit Sri in Brooklyn, New York–and to encourage those who are coming to New York City to make an appointment to visit.
Here at Sri Threads I’m hoping to give a broader sense of Sri’s inventory and to talk about some special pieces from my own personal collection of Japanese folk textiles.
I’ll be updating this site regularly, and I’m looking forward to showing things that are interesting to me and, hopefully, to you.
Of course, if you see something of interest to you, do inquire about it as most (but not all) are available and some things seen on this site will not be offered for sale on the Sri website–don’t hesitate to contact me.
Have a look around, and thanks for stopping by.
Here’s a long view into Sri, with an antique katazome yogi, or sleeping kimono, on the far wall.
This is a beautiful Korean pojagi suspended in front of a magnificent Japanese ‘mino’ shibori yukata: the shibori technique is called that because it mimics a mino, or Japanese rain cape.
Here’s a closer view on the mino shibori yukata, which most likely dates to the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. Certainly it was made in Japan’s unofficial shibori ‘capital’, Arimatsu.
This is a corner of Sri with two folk images of Ebisu and Daikoku, Japanese gods of fortune.
Another long view into Sri gallery–stop by again!
In: Tags: katazome, pojagi, shibori
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