UROBORO . Tsutsugaki - UROBORO - Antique Textiles and Rugs

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Japan, Meiji (circa 1890), cm 181x158.

The mythology of the lion-dog (or Chinese lion) landed Japan in the same way the Buddhism did, via China and Korea, and soon found its way into Japanese culture where it was called ‘Karashishi’ (Chinese lion) and symbolized elegance and bravery. This mythical creature is often encountered as paired stone statues at the entrances to Buddhist temples, where act as a guardian. Another much used iconographic panorama sees it   associated with the ‘Botan’ (peony), that is the king of flowers.

The two give raise to a representation  of the symbols of Yin (bravery and male strength) and Yan (beauty and female sensuality) respectively, the two vital forces. This is the case with present cloth, where we see a fierce lion-dog dancing with impetus among peony flowerings above the holy mountains.

Noteworthy is the fact that this futonji is not made of indigo cotton - as many are - rather of soft ‘tsumugi’ silk on a green ground.

Despite age, it is in very good condition with saturated colours and no faults. The fierce lion, with open jaws, it is not a scaring presence, rather it looks as he’s having a deal of fun in trying to catch the peonies that pop in like fireworks onto a lovely green sky. Just fab.


Tsutsugaki ‘noshi’ futonji panel

Japan, Meiji (circa 1880), cm 96x33.

This is a really lovely panel fragment from a bedding cloth (futonji), decorated in the so-called ‘tsutsugaki’ technique with the pattern of a ‘noshi’ in different tones of indigo and white. Noshi are kind of ceremonial origami (consisting of white paper folded with a strip of abalone, considered a token of good fortune) that are attached to gifts to express “good wishes”. The cotton is hand spun and hand woven, the design rendering is beautifully clear and the various shades  of indigo have started to nicely fade.

The cloth has just the right amount of wear and a small spot of staining. It still embodies the soulful, old Japanese feeling without being worn-out or sad from too much age. All in all, a very intriguing tsutsugaki panel, with a great visual impact and aging very nicely. Truly recommended.



Meiji Period, circa 1870, 153x126cm

In tsutsugaki technique, to create a pattern in several colors of indigo bottom, after the drawing action are firstly applied the secondary colours, they need to made dry, then the primary colours may be stacked, and these too have to wait until dry. Finally, the so-coloured areas are covered by a thick layer of rice pasta and the fabric immersed in a tub with the indigo dye.
The dark blue shades can take up to thirty baths in colour, and it should be noted how after each bath the indigo should be oxidized, and then several hours have to be spent between a bath and the other. All this makes us understand which skills out of the ordinary is required to get excellent results like this, depicting a falcon in flight among flowering peonies and with mountains in the background: not only the design but also for the quality of the colours and their shades nuanced.

Its pale colour has nostalgic touch, doesn't have holes and tears, and doesn't have prominent stains.
There remain many tsutsugaki futon cover, but this piece is exceptionally unique and genuine art piece. For the Mr. Connoisseur.

* = no more in stock



Meiji Period, circa 1890, 167x129cm

A futon cover having a design of a predatory animal, in this case a stunning tiger, but also symbolizes strength and integrity.
Dyed with tsutsugaki technique, its pattern is bold and vivid. Please check the fabulous details with more photos. Textile is thick cotton with a soft touch. It has a few slight stains, but it doesn't have prominent flaws.
Highly recommend!

= no more in stock



Meiji Period, (circa 1890)

156 cm x 125 cm & 156 cm x 125 cm

A complete representation of the symbols cards for the spouses, thus said Shochikubai and Tsurukame that in addition to the 'three friends Winter, and the crane, also includes the turtle with a long tail, a further symbol of longevity. Let us analyse more in detail the various components. The pine is an evergreen tree (which according to legend lives 1000 years), bamboo grows tall and strong but also flexible and does not break under the weight of snow, while the plum tree buds are the first who courageously make their way through ice and snow at the end of the long cold season, that’s why they are called 'three friends of winter' and have meaning auspicious. The crane in Japan is considered one of the most beautiful and graceful animals, but also associated with spirituality and kindness.
Many popular stories represent the crane as a heroine with such features. Together with the turtle, they are believed to be mythological creatures that live on both, Earth and paradise of immortal Taoists, whence association with longevity. What is more important for the newlyweds, however, is that the cranes are said to mate for life. There are several futonji showing such a composition, but this pair has a unique character: on the one hand colouring, which stands out on a lot of raw silk background, on the other hand that is in front of a spectacular set, and this has not to our knowledge an analogy in the literature.

* = no more in stock

Is dedicated to Nunzio, my only and best brother I could have had. He was also a friend of mine, and of great help in my life, making me simple hard decisions.
What you find here is his personal collection. Unfortunately, my home is not large enough to contain all, so if you are interested in purchasing any article, please contact me. Some of these articles are already collected by some friends of mine and are no more available. These pieces are marked with a red asterisk.
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Nunzio Crisa
After the degree in physic he left Milano to Munich, where he got the PhD in Physical Chemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet.
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