A Tsutsugaki Futonji, 2nd half 19th century, Japan: created with free-hand rice-paste resist on indigo-dyed hand-woven cotton. Painted pigments. Four-panel construction.  The pine is ever green, lives to be a thousand years old, and is the dwelling place of the gods. The crane and turtle frequently appear together in tsutsugaki textiles. The crane is known in Japan as a symbol of beauty. The stark contrast of black and white on it’s body, the bright red spot on its head, the delicacy of its form, and its elegant posture exemplify the Japanese taste for simplicity and serenity. By Heian times the crane was associated in art with longevity because of the belief that it lived a thousand years, and was also a symbol of good fortune. The turtle is a constant companion of the crane in story and in art. It was the carrier of precious things and a messenger of good omen, particularly the words of gods. On tsutsugaki textiles – as in the present case – the turtle design called ‘minogane’ (caped tortoise) is especially common: this design shows a type of turtle that carried exceptionally good fortune, with long ‘tails’ trailing behind in the water which represented attached seaweed attached to the shell. Yorke Antique Textiles

Kasuri Futonji. Early to mid-Meiji period (1868-1900), Japan. A double-ikat cotton fabric likely created as bedding material. The front side consists of white ikat patterns on an indigo blue background, while the backside consists of a large family crest on a blue background. The front side consist of three main panels as well as five minor ones. Yorke Antique Textiles