Yorke Antique Textiles

A collection of antique and vintage textiles from around the world

Item Details
Mid-Meiji era (1875-1900)
A fully-embroidered silk panel that had origins in a high-level Japanese specialty workshop (the embroidered "signature" -see detailed images -likely denoted the name of the workshop). The panel is bordered by a woven border, and is backed by a strong woven dark green lining (see image). Excellent condition. 84" x 60". Buddhism adapted the symbol of tiger and bamboo to its teachings; the power of the tiger becomes the spiritual force necessary to confront all the adversity of life. Brave and determined, he is an example to be followed. But even the most valiant warrior must show humility; and so, too, the tiger must embody as well the frail bamboo. “The strength, courage and determination of the tiger are not enough to overcome the challenges to which nature submits us; we must also have the flexibility of bamboo”. The visual representation of bamboo has always fascinated Chinese Taoist artists and, later, Japanese Zen artists as well. The animal contains in his being therefore not only power, force, movement and change, but also all aspects related to the plant: fragility, flexibility, and longevity above all. With eternity on the one hand and constant change on the other, the duality of the tiger suggests the perpetual movement of the world that is at the center of Japanese Zen philosophy. There is no trace of tiger representation in Japan before the arrival of Buddhism in the sixth century. Through Korean monks, the latter developed quickly, bringing with it buddhistic traditions of architecture, sculpture, painting, writing and symbols, tigers and bamboo included. The Samurai adopted the symbols of tiger and bamboo, already dear to Buddhism: what, after all, could better represent them than the fascinating and majestic tiger? Bamboo, then, no longer reflected eternity or flexibility, but became instead a metaphor for the merchants and peasants who served the Samurai. An ancient Japanese proverb says that the strong must protect the weak and, in exchange, the weak must serve the strong - the tiger keeps predators at bay from the bamboo, which in turn conceal him in a lair of protection.
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