Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

A Fine Vintage Fukusa - Woven Treasures Design

A Fine Vintage Fukusa - Woven Treasures Design

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Textiles: Pre 1980: Item # 1266719

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Here is a super example of an antique silk woven fukusa cloth. Fukusa are a type of traditional Japanese textile used for gift wrapping and presentation. The plainer ones are used for the tea ceremony. They are lined, square or near square pieces of fabric usually with tassels on each corner. Traditionally when a gift is formally given it is presented in a box which is covered with the fukusa cloth. The cloth and box are given back to the gift giver after the present is opened.

This one is all woven. The upper side has an all woven pattern. The top most of the pattern depicts traditional treasures called takarazukushi. These include a wish fulfilling mallet, a hat and cape of invisibility, a magic ball that grants wishes, scrolls (representing the value of knowledge), there is also coral and a stylized fir tree shape representing longevity.

In the foreground are two large kaioke boxes which are traditional octagonal, highly ornate boxes for holding shells used in a traditional memory game Kai-awase, where the 360 shells would each have a picture which has to be paired with its twin. The aristocratic nature of this game in the Edo period made this item common among the aristocratic women's trousseau. Behind the design treasures is a large gold fan. Fans are traditionally related to the spreading of happiness.

The whole pattern is lustrous with quite a lot of subtle gold thread which adds to the richness. The 4 tassels are all present which is a bonus because these often go missing. The tassels are an red with gold. The underside is plain red, this is a color related to good health. The height is 20"/ 50cm and the width is 17.5"/45cm (not including the tassels). It weighs about 200g.

I am not 100% sure of the age but judging by the style of pattern I would say it is probably early Showa Period, circa 1926-1970. This is in excellent vintage condition, I found no major faults at all. On very close examination, there are a few tiny rubs and dots on the patterned side but nothing conspicuous. There is a little creasing but this should iron out. On the red backside there is a tiny hole.