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A Fukusa is an elaborately decorated square of cloth used to cover a gift during its formal presentation. Since ceremonial procedures permeated all facets of Japanese life, including the giving of gifts, important families commissioned famous artists to create individual Fukusa with the intent of indicating their position in society. They were a valued part of the family’s wealth and have been cherished and preserved for generations.
Both the front and the back of many of these works of art were decorated. The back usually displayed the family’s crest or “mon.” Fukusa were usually hand woven of the finest silk, in designs whose symbolic motifs were significant to the families. They were often hand painted and signed by Japan’s most famous artists and then embroidered in hand made pure gold, platinum or silver threads. Antique Japanese Fukusa are the most striking example of all of the skills of the Japanese artisan coming together in one art form. They are extraordinary and rare. (click on individual pictures for more information)