This is a rare and unusual, Indoor Boys Day Banner (“Nobori”) that has been hand painted on Chirimen Silk rather than the canvas-like cotton used for the typical tall, outdoor, vertical banners. The figures of warriors (this one standing under the propitious tree of long life, the Pine or “Matsu,” signaling victory in battle) make up the main motif of the Boys Day Banners which, in all probability, came about during the Edo Era when Banners became heraldic devices on the battlefield so the warriors could distinguish their fellow compatriots. The Banner would be hung on Boys Day (the fifth of May), which is a famous festival in Japan meant to celebrate the family’s wish that their son would grow up to be a strong healthy man with the virtues of the Samurai: loyalty, and devotion to duty and service. The word “Samurai” comes from “Sabaru” meaning “to serve,” and the Samurai persists as Japan’s greatest folk hero. This is an extraordinary example of the clothing that made up the dress of the Japanese battlefield, including the colorfully caparisoned horse which only the very noble and wealthy were allowed to ride, and all of which expressed the traditional values of “The Way of the Warrior.”
This is also a wonderful example of ceremonial “Tsutsugaki,” or the paste resist hand painting and dying technique that flourished from the late Edo Period to the Early Meiji Period. It was especially popular because of its colorful spontaneity. The brilliant colors were created by brushing pigments (“Ganryo”), usually in a soybean liquid binder, onto the surface of the fabric in a manner similar to Yuzen. A design is outlined in rice paste with a cylinder (“Tsutsu”), then filled in with the desired pigment color. This unusual Banner has also been painted with liquid pure Gold.
An Indoor Boys Day Banner, especially hand painted on Chirimen Silk, is an extraordinary rarity and this could only have belonged to the son of a very wealthy and prominent Japanese Family…an heirloom saved from the mid 1800s.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
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