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"Kai Awase" Vintage Fukusa

"Kai Awase" Vintage Fukusa

Clamshell Game

Regular price $39.00
Regular price $49.00 Sale price $39.00
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 the hexagon box typically used to store the clam shells from the kai awase game. Clam shells are decorated on the inside and one side will form a perfect match with its mate, and finding these matches is the name of the game.

The box is painted in blue and orange with a gold section in between. Painted clam shells are embellished with gold leaf trim around the edges.

Two-tone tassles on each corner.

The backside is red, suggesting that the gift-giving event was formal - perhaps a wedding. There is a large kotobuki (best wishes) kanji in the center.

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: 12.25"
Width: 12"
Made In (Estimated): 1940s
Condition: Very Good
Fiber: Silk
Technique: Painted
Colors: Cream, Blue, Orange
Motifs: Toy, Kai Awase, Game


Low stock: 1 left

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