A large fukusa featuring subtle and sophisticated yuzen-dyeing and embroidery highlights. Very good condition, with one tassel missing, some light smudges, and one tiny dark stain (see lower left area of the gallery image). 26" x 32".
In Japan, fan imagery composition was practiced both by important artists and also by a large number of laymen and men of letters. Fan motifs were created by artists both reflecting the upward curving semi-circle, or alternatively, such as in this case, the same shape curving downwards. Fans offered 'a glimpse into the everyday', as one Japanese proverb puts it. The action of opening a fan is an auspicious omen for the 'unfolding' of the future. Fans and fan imagery such that exhibited on this gift cloth, are often given as gifts to honor births or birthdays, and typically contain some floral designs. In Japanese imagery, flowers are symbolic of life - chrysanthemums especially because their many petals stand for many long years. The tortoise and crane images on this fukusa symbolize the wish for a long life, a popular depiction on birthday fukusa. The pair of small fully-embroidered sparrows symbolize a loving couple. Items 2740 and 2741 were obviously made by the same maker: they were purchased from the same family, are of a similar size, material, tassels, and exactly the same particular lining cloth.