It has been a while since I have posted on this blog. I have been busy sourcing antique and vintage fabrics and dyeing katazome textiles. I have also been working on a new website and blog. Please visit our new website for blog posts on antique Japanese textiles and my new indigo dye projects. We also have a shop where you can purchase fabrics and an experiences page where you can learn about upcoming classes and textile tours. Visit the new website at: www.nsomerstextiles.com
I recently found this beautiful 19th century indigo dyed fabric that was more than likely used as a furniture cover. These were traditionally made for a wedding and often display the brides family crest. The hand spun cotton thread lends texture to the fabric. The design was worked using a rice paste resist and a method known as tsutsugaki. The light blue of the family crest is known as kame nozoki, or peeking in the vat. The fabric was first dyed with a yellow dye and later over dyed with indigo to create the beautiful green color. In the close up photos you can see the yellow dye that seeped under the resist paste. The last photo shows one of the corners where the yellow dye is also visible. I would guess that the yellow was obtained from gardenia seed pods.
This small two panel furoshiki was probably part of a set of three or four and has been decorated with a family crest indicating it may be part of a traditional wedding dowry. It dates to the late 19th century and is made of hand spun and hand woven cotton. The color is a worn grey which I think may have been obtained by using sumi ink as a dye. The small tsutsugaki pine tree design in the corner is wonderfully simple and sweet.
This small kimono for a baby was made out of old material called boro or “rags” pieced together to make usable fabric. The boro material was intended to be the liner but, I have decided to show it off as the shell. the boro material probably came from an indigo dyed tsutsugaki furoshiki or “free hand resist dyed carrying cloth”. These were traditionally given in sets to a new bride and groom and were often dyed with the families mon or “crest”. I love the idea that the newlyweds used it until it became tattered and then remade it into clothing for one of their children. The outer fabric shown below as the liner has a design of small dogs. This fabric was factory made and was meant to replicate a double kasuri or “ikat” material. This fabric shows patches that do not make their way through to the lining material meaning that this material had been used and repaired at the time that it was made into this garment. More than likely it was also a hand me down.
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.
Happy New Year.
This Meiji era furoshiki or “carrying cloth” was probably once the smallest of a set of three furoshiki that were part of a brides trousseau. The central kamon or “crest” and the kanji on the side have been dyed using a technique known as tsutsugaki. I love the simple design and the naive way the kamon and kanji are rendered. What makes this piece so nice are the beautiful patches and stitches that adorn the back and peek through to the front.
I found this kamon in a Japanese book of family crests compiled in 1913.
This furoshiki can be purchased at my shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/154792021/antique-japanese-tsutsugaki-indigo?ref=shop_home_active
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.
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.
This is a furoshiki, or “carrying cloth” made from three sections of an old Japanese banner. It was produced in the early to mid 20th century. and was dyed using fermented persimmon dye. The kanji was produced using a technique called tsutsugaki. This furoshiki is a great example of the Japanese idea of mottainai or “nothing wasted.” Notice the third section of the furoshiki where the kanji are upside down.
These images come from six antique Miao blankets. all of the blankets are cotton and they have all been dyed using indigo. Freehand drawing and stencil methods of resist dying have been employed to create the designs on these blankets. two different weaving patterns have been used to create the cotton base fabrics. The two older blankets are woven with a plain weave and the four remaining have a diamond pattern that is traditional to the Miao of Guizhou provience, China.
This photo comes from a book titled Lost China. The blanket hanging behind the man in the photo is simular in construction, narrow strips of fabric, and in the use of stencil resist designs to the older blankets shown above.