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"Collectible" Antique Fukusa

"Collectible" Antique Fukusa

Collectible Art

Regular price $349.00
Regular price $399.00 Sale price $349.00
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Ships from NY
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Sourced from Japan
This listing is for an antique fukusa gift cover. See explanation below for how fukusa are used and a bit about their history.

This fukusa is likely more than 100 years old and would be a fine addition to a serious collection of Asian art.

The fabric is a dark gray silk crepe - reminiscent of textiles from the early 1900s - with an elaborately painted scene of cranes and tortoises along the seaside. There are five cranes - two perched on the rocks and three careening overhead. There are two tortoises - one larger than the other - resting on the rocks.

The rest of the scenery of waves, trees, and flowering bushes is expertly painted. Some features are embellished with delicate embroidery or with a sparkle of gold thread.

Dark gray-green tassles are sewn from each corner.

The backside is the formal, traditional red silk crepe with a beautifully embroidered crest on the corner. The crest was created with couched gold threads - difficult hand work! - and the crest itself is of crossed arrow fletching.

There are slightly darkened fold lines on the back (see last photo) - not surprising for a piece this old.

From Wikipedia:
Fukusa are a type of Japanese textile used for gift-wrapping....Fukusa are square or almost square pieces of lined fabric ranging in size from about 9–36 inches (230–910 mm) along one side. They are typically made of fine silk, and may be decorated with embroidery in auspicious designs.


The use of fukusa as a way of presenting gifts has mostly died out, lingering instead mainly in certain ritual exchanges of gifts during weddings in a few regions of Japan.


Traditionally in Japan, gifts were placed in boxes or on a wooden or lacquered tray, over which a fukusa would be draped. The choice of a fukusa appropriate to the occasion was considered an important part of the gift itself, and part of its formality. The practice of covering a gift became widespread during the Edo period (1603-1867).

The scene or motifs depicted on fukusa are chosen to indicate either the occasion for which the gift is being given, or because they are appropriate for one of the annual festivals when gifts are exchanged. The richness of the decoration of the fukusa attests to the giver's wealth and aesthetics.

Once a gift was exchanged, after being admired, the fukusa and box or tray presented with the gift are typically returned to the gift's original giver. However, before the Meiji Restoration, when gifts were presented to a high official, the fukusa was not always returned.

Length: 29.5"
Width: 26"
Made In (Estimated): 1920s
Condition: Very Good
Fiber: Silk
Technique: Painted
Colors: Grays, Black, Peach
Motifs: Figures, Mythology, Auspicious Elements


Low stock: 1 left

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