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A Piece Constructed Furoshiki: 19th Century Botanically Dyed Silks

Written on July 16, 2013

YoseFuroshiki3This beautifully arranged off-square of contrasting colors is a traditional wrapping cloth or furoshiki that is hand stitched from botanically dyed, leftover fragments of silk.

YoseFuroshiki3aMost likely the maker of this furoshiki utilized silks that were once a part of a juban or a han juban which are garments worn under a kimono, much like this one.  Fancifully figured cloth, pieces of which are seen here, were often used in the making of silk undergarments.

YoseFuroshiki3bAbove you can see pieces of katazome dyed silk.  The sliver shown at the bottom of the photo above is a stencil resist dyed faux shibori.

YoseFuroshiki3cAbove you’ll see more images of beautifully designed katazome silk.  The purple color is achieved from dye extracted from gromwell root; the orange is safflower; the blue is indigo; the chartreuse green is probably indigo over dyed with yellow.

YoseFuroshiki3dThe photo, above, offers a better view onto the faux shibori, in this case it’s a riff on kanoko or fawn dappled shibori.

The silks are all lightweight silks, what you may call today “lining” silks. Some of them are rinzu or a satin damask.

Piecing silks like this was common in old Japan and often undergarments were made in this manner, another example shown here.   Piecing of silks was also used in ecclesiastical applications, within Buddhist temples, where donations of fine silks were used in the service of worship.  Two examples are seen here and here.

YoseFuroshiki3eThe back of this furoshiki is of safflower dyed silk.  The furoshiki measures 39″ x 41 1/2″ or 99 cm x 105.5 cm.  It is available for sale on the webshop.



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  1. Comment by velma:

    the skill evident in the dyeing of these silks, as well as the stitching and thrift of this piece are very pleasing, as is the bold design

    July 18, 2013 @ 5:51 pm