This Meiji era furoshiki depicts a bundle of noshi. These were strips of dried abalone given as gifts in old Japan. Over time the noshi developed into an auspicious design that can be found on many Edo and Meiji era items that were originally meant as gifts. the symbol came to represent a wish for good fortune and prosperity.
This furoshiki employs indigo, persimmon, and sumi ink dyes. The design was created by using rice paste in a resist technique known as tsutsugaki. I love the way the imperfections in the noshi are represented, I also love the deep indigo background color.
This furoshiki has several big patches which makes me think that it was extra special. I know someone treasured it due to all the work they put into mending it.
Happy New Year.
At first glance these patches seem ordinary. The first is a patch of small sashiko stitches and the second a normal enough blue patch with haphazard stitching holding the two pieces of fabric together. When you turn the piece over it reveals two beautiful patches made from beautiful Edo period katazome.
This patch is decorated with an amazing fern design often seen in late Edo and early Meiji tsutsugaki and katazome fabrics.
The next patch has a beautiful double design of black leaves and branches on an indigo ground, as well as, resist dyed cherry or plum trees with stylized blossoms. I can’t even begin to understand the process of dying something like this.
I think these patches elevate this beautiful Edo period katazome, and I am in complete reverence of the masterful hands that created these fabrics so many years ago.