The fukusa, a square piece of cloth with a unique and often exquisite design, became an essential element in the elaborate ceremony prescribed for the formal presentation of a gift during the Meiji era in Japan. Sometimes confused with the furoshki, a larger, single layer of cloth used to wrap and transport an informal gift, the fukusa is seldom larger than 15 inches square, lined and made of fine silk. These pieces often were commissioned by a family, designed to their specifications, and then retained within the family for repeated use over the years. This one, from the early 20th century, has a striking design of two squares, one laid over the other to give the impression that they are floating on the deep purple background. Traditional pine boughs on the salmon-colored square appear behind a white square with three highly stylized cranes. The design was hand drawn and hand dyed using the yuzen paste resist method. The heavy purple silk is backed with a grey/green silk of the same weave. The backing has a water mark; the front design is in good condition with just one small spot on the white square. Dimensions: height 14” (36 cm), width 13 ¼” (43 cm).