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"Jo and Uba Brocade" Antique Fukusa

"Jo and Uba Brocade" Antique Fukusa

Brocade Weave

Regular price $129.00
Regular price $149.00 Sale price $129.00
Sale Sold out
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  • Ships from NY
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Sourced from Japan
This listing is for a vintage - possibly antique - fukusa gift cover. See explanation below for how fukusa are used and a bit about their history.

This fukusa features characters from one of the most iconic Japanese myths associated with weddings and marriages. This elderly couple - Jo and Uba - represent a long and happy marriage. Uba carries a broom to sweep away troubles, and Jo carries a rake to rake in good fortune. Learn more about the myth and characters here. In this scene, the couple is part of the decoration on a large folding fan.

The fukusa is woven silk with a brocade density in the fan motif that allows it to pop a bit from the smooth silk background. It was likely woven with the fingernail weaving technique called tsuzure - see video below for how that is done.

Whtie and gold tassles hang from each corner. The backside is the traditional red silk crepe with a large gold family crest in one corner. The crest - a folding fan inside a scalloped border - was created with couched gold threads. So much fine hand work.

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: 26.5"
Width: 24"
Made In (Estimated): 1920s
Condition: Excellent
Fiber: Silk
Technique: Woven
Colors: Gray, Multi
Motifs: Mythology, People, Figures, Auspicious Elements


Low stock: 1 left

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