Tsutsugaki futonji



Bedding cloth with phoenix and Paulownia tree designs
Indigo cotton with freehand paste resist indigo dyeing
Edo period, 19th century
H.: 220 cm – W.: 162 cm

When a bride got married two sets of futon were presented as part of her dowry. The bedding cloth is always decorated with auspicious designs. This very popular design of this cloth is Paulownia tree and a couple of phoenix. The Paulownia tree was believed to be sacred.

Tsutsugaki is a Japanese term for the practice of hand drawing designs in rice paste on cloth, dyeing the cloth, and then washing the paste off. The rice paste is usually made from sweet rice, which is sticky and adheres easily to fabric because of its high starch content. The paste is applied through a tube (tsutsu) similar to the tubes used by bakers to decorate cakes.

For more information (in French !) see the recent Tsutsugaki exhibition at the Musée Guimet in Paris.