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Tsutsugaki Indigo Textiles

Here is a selection of antique Japanese textiles featuring tsutsugaki paste relief indigo fabrics from the Edo and Meiji Periods circa 1750-1890. Tsutsugaki is a method of dyeing cloth using rice paste to create a particular design. By squeezing the rice paste through a paper cone the textile artist draws, freehand, the chosen design. The result is a delightful spontaneity and rare individuality of expression that have come to distinguish tsutsugaki textiles. Tsutsugaki boasts a long history in both cities and the countryside.

Tsutsugaki Indigo Textiles

#31 Diamond in circle family crest, turtle, crane Edo 61” x 50” $1200
The diamond’s name is based on its resemblance to the water chestnut that members of both the court and Samurai societies used as a favorite decoration even before the adoption of formal family crests. The circle represents perfection, completeness, harmony, integrity, and peace. The shochikubai pattern is the trio of bamboo, pine and plum blossom. The pine and bamboo stay green throughout the winter, and the plum blossoms is the first bloomer in the late winter, so these plants symbolize strength, resiliency, the steadfastness of true friendship, and the coming of springtime. The crane represents 1,000 years of life, the turtle 10,000.

Tsutsugaki Indigo Textiles

#25 Shochikubai Meiji 60” x 48” $1200
The shochikubai pattern is the trio of bamboo, pine and plum blossom. The pine and bamboo stay green throughout the winter, and the plum blossoms is the first bloomer in the late winter, so these plants symbolize strength, resiliency, the steadfastness of true friendship, and the coming of springtime. This is a popular decorative motif, found on fabrics, furniture, ceramics, bronze-ware and more.

Tsutsugaki Indigo Textiles

#13 Peony and butterfly Edo period 48” x 55” $750
The butterfly was popular with Japanese aristocrats as early as the Nara period, favored for its elegance and peaceful nature. The peony was admired for its beauty and used in traditional medicine. As a decorative pattern and family crest it ranks almost as high as chrysanthemum, paulownia and hollyhock.


#2 Paulownia family crest, origami crane, pine 50” x 57” $800
According to Chinese legend, the mythical phoenix, bird of immortality, only alights on the branches of the paulownia tree. The paulownia is one of the most popular family crests, ranking just behind the chrysanthemum as an imperial crest. The pine tree is a symbol of long life and resiliency, and the origami crane is a symbol of health and long life.