Antique Japanese Fukusa (gift cover), an old Chinese koto player by a waterfall. Embroidered on silk satin, lined with soft crepe silk, circa 1800s. 27 1/2" x 30 1/2"
A large cloud moves in and stirs the air in the forest. Water falls to the river as if it were falling from the sky and ripples it to shore. The resonance of the koto breaks the silence of the forest. The design on this fukusa is likely to have come from one of the old Chinese poems. This Chinese man can be Lin Bu (967-1028) who spent a solitary life in the mountains near the West Lake. Lin Bu wrote many poems about the surrounding nature in his sensitive style. He was never married and characterized plums as his wife and cranes as his children. He was known as a skilled ‘koto’ player. The pine and camellia (which is said to live for a thousand years) are to wish for longevity.
The design on this fukusa shows the Chinese trend among the literates in the Edo period (1603-1868).
It was an appropriate gift covering for an occasion such as “Ga no Iwai”, to celebrate the longevity of someone close and older.