Four-panel kon (dark-blue) indigo-dyed cotton bed cover, woven with kasuri technique creating patterns of squares (well frames.) Top cover only, no backing or wadding; good condition, minor repair to one corner. Ca. 1900. L.54”(137cm) x W.52”(132cm.)
Futonji, bed covers, were a common bridal trousseau item in feudal and early-modern Japan. They may have been made by the bride before marriage (in very rural areas,) or more likely commissioned by the bride’s family. The bed cover was often decorated with auspicious symbols of good luck, fertility, happiness, or long life. They could also be emblazoned with the bride or grooms family crest, and occasionally a combination of the two. Patterns were created using a number of techniques including weaving, stencil and hand-dyeing.
Kasuri techniques came to Japan from Indonesia via Okinawa, and became highly developed here. Skeins of thread are bound at certain points before dying, and these undyed areas create the resulting patterns or images. The technique can be used for either the warp or weft yarn, or both. The resulting blurred edges of patterns created by this amazingly complex technique are the characteristic beauty of kasuri.