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"Genji Figures" Vintage Fukusa

"Genji Figures" Vintage Fukusa


Regular price $75.00
Regular price $99.00 Sale price $75.00
Sale Sold out
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  • Ships from NY
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Sourced from Japan
This listing is for a vintage - perhaps antique - fukusa gift cover. See explanation below for how fukusa are used and a bit about their history.

This fukusa features a finely painted design folding fans decorated with figures from the Tale of Genji (the world's first romance novel!). The faces and kimono details seem to have been painted with a single-hair brush - so delicate and refined.

One light blue tassle at each corner.

The backside is red, suggesting that the gift-giving event was formal - perhaps a wedding, and this red is a rich silk crepe.

As with many antique textiles that started out white, there are small blemishes from age, but it is still in very good condition and could be framed or displayed - or used!

From Wikipedia:
Fukusa are a type of Japanese textile used for gift-wrapping or for purifying equipment during a Japanese tea ceremony. 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: 20"
Width: 18"
Condition: Excellent
Material: Silk


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