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Back from Japan: A Very Large Hemp Tstutsugaki Furoshiki– A Freehand Drawn Auspicious Motif

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.

…and a quick update on the webshop: it’s taking a bit longer to produce than expected, so I appreciate you hanging in there with me while it is being developed.

Again, if you are interested in joining our mailing list, please do send an email to me at [email protected] and I’ll sign you up!


Comments closed

  1. Comment by paula253:

    stunning, and such an appropriate first offering on your return.

    March 24, 2011 @ 10:37 am

  2. Comment by velma Bolyard:

    this is a beautiful thing. thank you.

    March 24, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  3. Comment by India Flint:

    i like the way you provide a series of images, each one looking more deeply into the work, thank you

    March 24, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  4. Comment by jude:


    March 24, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  5. Comment by caro:

    The patches may be for mending but they nevertheless look purposely placed in rhythm with the notched edges of the noshi. The overall composition is stunning.

    March 24, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  6. Comment by Lambert:

    Welcome back Stephen! Looking forward to the new website.

    March 26, 2011 @ 8:09 am

  7. Comment by anastasia:

    very lovely! are the patches on the front of the piece or the back? the little moon face patch is kawaii; i am always intrigued by the mending in old textiles, they are all the more interesting as they weren’t planned as part of the original piece, such a story they tell!

    March 28, 2011 @ 8:10 pm