This beautiful satin silk gift cloth was used to drape over a gift and because of the richness of the design it attests to the giver’s wealth and aesthetics. Ebisu one of the “Seven Lucky Gods” is the god of fishing and his attribute is a fishing pole. Today he symbolizes not only safe sailing and plentiful fishing, but business prosperity for merchants in all trades and success to people in any occupation. Ebisu is seen riding a large minogama turtle a symbol of wisdom and longevity, the long tail is beautifully embroidered in an elaborate gold wrapped around thread couching stitch, along with waves in the same gold stitch. Ebisu’s robe is expertly stitched in a raised design with a dragon motif on his back. Off in the distance are pagoda shape structures, possibly a temple. Age: Late Edo Period/ (1615-1868) Early Meiji Period (1868-1912) Size: 24” x 23’ (60.96 x 58.42 cm)
In the first part of the 18th century, the art of the fukusa reflected the taste of the aristocratic minority of Japan: the daimyo and samurai. The subtle cultural references inherent in the designs were recognizable only to the educated members of these classes, who lived and exchanged gifts in the cities of Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) and their surrounding areas. The use of ornamental fukusa in the Edo era was almost entirely confined to these geographic area.