Japanese antique nobori banner, hand painted on cotton, a tiger in bamboo grove. The style of the painting is derived from ancient Korean paintings of tigers. It is a style that became popular in Japan from the 16th century and you will see many screens and scrolls of tigers painted in this manner. The popularity of these paintings in this style continued throughout the Edo period(1608-1868) and into the Meiji era. The quality of the artwork tell us that this nobori is likely to have been done by an artist employed by the family whose mon (family crest) appears on the banner.
The crests are omodaka, water plantain. The omodaka was sometimes called shogunso, a ‘victory plant’ because of the shape of the leaf resembles the tip of an arrow. This design was popular among samurai before the Edo period when the crest was not quite adopted by them. There are hosts of families that used the plantain crest in simple forms as seen on the upper one. It is an emblem often used by families associated with famous generals such as MORI Motonari and TOYOTOMI Hidetsugu who both used the water plantain among their emblems. Mons with water plantains and water are fewer and there is none listed with water drawn in the style seen on the lower of the two mons.
Noboris as good as this one rarely come into the market, and although the condition is not perfect, it has lost none of its dramatic appeal. The upper part of the nobori where the crests are, particularly the double lines, took damage from the iron contained in the old black dye. The fabric in the double black lines (heavily painted) are brittle but well held together with thick cotton threads (all edges are double sewn) – this should make a quick patch-up repair possible. There are long lines of writing in black ink at the top hemming, where it was hidden (folded and sewn) together. When we cut (the threads) about 10 inches seam the tight seam, it revealed the writing, but it is not legible to us. The fabric of the lower design area (6.33 feet) is in good condition except for one tear at the bottom. It will work with some cross stitches, or even better with an old temple cloth (brocade) to patch up with - available. We now have a photo showing the damaged left corner bottom covered with the brocade. The cloth is pinned instead of sewn when we took a quick photo. We used the best old silver brocade to match to the art work.
Dimensions: Approx. 26 1/4" in width and 14.38 feet long. (67 cm x 4.38 meter)