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DESCRIPTION: This is a rare and unusual Japanese Silk “Fukusa,” or formal gift cover, that a wealthy and prominent family would commission and use as a dramatic cover when presenting a gift. The Silk has been handwoven, while the dramatic design of the standing Mandarin Crane has been hand painted using the labor intensive “Rice Paste Resist” process whereby the elements are first painted in the rice paste in order to paint in the background. The fabric is then soaked numerous times to remove the paste. This step is repeated for each of the different colors in the design. The artwork centers on the Crane (“Tsuru”), the magnificent Pine (“Matsu”), and the brilliant Sun (“Hi”). The Pine represents longevity, while it is said that the Crane takes 1000 years to fly to the Sun, reinforcing the overall desire manifested in the art for long life and good fortune. The small flying Crane has been embroidered in Silk threads free hand style, while embroidered knots highlight the Pine. The back of this outstanding Gift cover has been handwoven of a red on red brocade design with a magnificently embroidered Family Crest (“Mon”) measuring 6” across in a circular pattern of the Mulberry Leaf ("Kaji"). In ancient Japan, the Mulberry leaf was used to make receptacles for offerings of food at Shrines, while strips of the fiber were hung from sacred trees as prayers. It came to be associated with the Weaver Girl of the Tanabata Festival held on the 7th day of the 7th month. The Crest has been embroidered using handmade Pure White Gold Threads that have been “Couched” onto the fabric. These precious threads are prepared by first painting a layer of liquid gold on thin, had made paper, and wrapping it around several threads of Silk. Because of its delicacy, it could not be sewn into the fabric; but was, instead, “Couched” by being laid on top of the fabric, and then hand stitched to it.
This marvelous Silk Fukusa has all 4 of its original hand tied Silk Tassels dating from the same era.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: A “Fukusa” is a cloth used to cover a gift that has been placed on a wooden or lacquered tray during the gift’s elaborate and formal presentation, all of which followed closely defined rules of etiquette. The practice of covering a gift was widespread in Japan before the 1900s. The Fukusa was a valuable family heirloom, as the family itself designed the gift cover to be a thing of beauty.
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Late Edo Era (1615-1867) to Early Meiji Era (1868-1912)
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Pure hand woven Silk, hand painted and embroidered, including pure white gold thread in excellent condition with some barely noticeable, minimal shredding at the top outer edge. The hand tied silk tassels have been tied in the design that indicates the age in which the Fukusa was created.
FINISHED SIZE: 28”w x 26”h (not including tassels)
PRESENTATION: Fabulous wall hanging or framed art work. The Fukusa is actually 2 separate sides sewed together at the outer seam with the inclusion of the tassels. The Couched Crest on the reverse side of the Fukusa would also make a dramatic framed work of art.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
TTAC will personally pack and ship via UPS at company expense within the continental U.S.