This exquisite satin silk Fukusa (gift cover) with a gold stitched Ebisu riding a large minogama turtle (symbol of wisdom and longevity), the long tail is elaborately embroidered in a gold couching stitch, (gold wrapped around thread), 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 a and gold detail. Off in the distance is a pagoda temple. Age: Late Edo Period/ (1615-1868) Early Meiji Period (1868-1912) Size: 24” x 23’ (60.96 x 58.42 cm)
The Fukusa was used to drape over a gift, and the richness of the design and workmanship attests to the giver’s wealth and aesthetics. Ebisu one of the “Seven Lucky Gods” is the “God of Fishing”, and his attribute a fishing pole. Today, he symbolizes not only safe sailing and plentiful fishing, but also prosperity and success for all merchants and trades.
During the Early 18th century the design and quality of the fukusa reflected the taste of the aristocratic of Japan, generally 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 areas.