Unique old Japanese yogi (kimono-shaped futon bed cover) from Kaga, a weeping willow tree with a butterfly family crest, 57" x 72", Meiji Period (1868-1912).
Kaga, located in today's Kanazawa prefecture area, was known as "Kaga One-million Koku", the wealthiest domain next to the Tokugawa Shogun family during the Edo period (1603-1868). Each domain was assessed its wealth measured by "koku." Most samurai received stipends in koku. One koku was equal to the amount of rice to feed a man for a year. The Kaga domain was governed by the Maeda family whose families maintained their interest in the arts. Yuzen-zome (paste regist dye on silk) also started in Kaga during the Edo period (Kyoto Yuzen is better known).
This yogi has a butterfly family crest in the center. The crest is decorated with a ring of Karakusa (Chinese scrolling pattern). The decorative ring for the crest was created in Kaga during the late Edo period. The rings were made out of the plum blossoms, pine needles, etc. These kawari (unique) mon (family crest) were used for non-official occasions. Women were humbly able to show their modesty by making their crest appear smaller than their husband’s when the ring was added ... The family crest on this yogi does not show any sign of humbleness. It is gorgeous and takes up almost half the space.
The yogi was popular particularly in colder climate regions and was incorporated into a bridal trousseau. For this purpose, they were usually decorated with auspicious designs such as cranes, turtles, pines, bamboos, rocks, plums and so on. Here on this yogi, you can catch the same theme without seeing any of the things that were mentioned above when the family crest is seen together as part of the design. The design of a butterfly and its cocoons (in the weeping willow tree) represents the wishing for a newlywed couple's happy marriage blessed with many children. This work is beautifully executed with the tsutsugaki paste resist dye method on thin cotton-like silk combined with the katazome (use of cut-out stencil, not necessary an easier task) on a weeping tree.
CONDITION: The liner and the wadding of the yogi were taken apart. It has damages, some repaired and non-repaired, numerous pin holes (not visible) and broken orange color silk stitches (decorative and functional) around the opening of the sleeves and bottom hem line. Extra threads (silk and hemp thread) can simply be removed. This is a rare and beautiful yogi. Once it is hung, it is just like seeing a fine Noh costume (thin summer style) in a museum.