silk futon cover, Japan, Meiji (circa 1900), cm 182x152. This is a celebratory textile created to form part of a bride's wedding trousseau. Because futonji were an important aspect of the ceremonial inauguration of a couple's new life together, auspicious and meaningful symbols were purposefully chosen to decorate such pieces. Here we see a magnificently realized rendering (in the tsutsugaki technique) of three cranes amid small bamboos and pine needles. The pine is ever green (and lives 1000 years according to legend), so a symbol of longevity; the bamboo is resilient as it bends but does not break under winter snow, and symbolize bravery. The crane is a symbol of beauty and elegance in Japan, but also of trustful fidelity. Most importantly for the new bride and groom, is this last fact: cranes, they say, mate for life. Noteworthy is the fact that this futonji is not made of indigo cotton - as many are - rather of soft ‘tsumugi’ silk on a musky green ground. It has been used, so no wonder it shows signs of age, particularly in the silk red lining, but this does not detract from its beauty. i just love the articulate presence of the cranes, the stiff crudeness of the rendering, and the folksy rendition of these classic subjects. Simply great.
price:  SOLD