This is a Japanese fabric made of silk known as a furoshiki. A traditional part of the Japanese way of life, furoshiki are squares of fabric used for carrying, storing and wrapping things. They can be made of cotton, silk, nylon or rayon, but the finest are always made of silk. This furoshiki is made of a crepe silk. The crepe gives it a distinctive crimpled appearance (see close up pictures 8 & 9). The entire scenic on this furoshiki is that of a samurai war lord and his entourage arriving at the empirial palace in Edo (old Tokyo). It is printed in an elaborate process known as katazuke. This process requires a separate stencil for each color and all stencils must be done individually in perfect register. On the reverse (see pictures 6 & 7) the bleed through of dyes can be seen.
Having been used lovingly for over 70 years, this fine silk furoshiki remains, with exception to minor signs of past use (see close up photos) in very good condition.