Antique Indigo Futon-gawa with “Spider-Chrysanthemum” pattern

Mid to late 19th century cotton Indigo Futon Cover, with three panels, approximately 36″ wide by 58″ long. This is a collector’s item with it’s unique “Spider-Chrysanthemum” pattern, Indigo resist-dyed and hand-stenciled. The techniques used in this antique “futon-gawa” cover are Aizome (hand-dyed multiple times with Indigo) and Katazome, the technique of making a Katagami stenciled panel to use with the rice-paste resist. “Katagami” is washi paper that has been treated with “shibu-gaki”, an astringent persimmon paste that makes the paper stronger. A pattern is then hand-cut into the Katagami, using a series of fine tools. The Katagami is laid on top of hand-woven fabric, and then rice-paste (or sometimes tinted rice-paste) is applied to the fabric, through the stencil. When the rice-paste has dried, the cotton is then dipped multiple times in the Indigo dye. The more times the cotton is dipped, the deeper the residual Indigo color becomes. When the cotton has reached the desired color, it is allowed to dry, and the color is allowed to “set”. After the color has set, the rice-paste is washed out of the fabric. Futon-gawa were usually dyed between 20 and 40 times with Indigo, an incredibly labor-intensive process.

Futon-gawa covers were usually produced with good luck symbols, like the Spider-Chrysanthemum pattern, since they were usually given to a newly-wed couple, and meant to last a lifetime.

The cotton fabric is well worn, and has obviously been used and loved for many years.
There is fading in one panel, and a ragged edge in another. For a futon cover that has been used for close to 150 years this is in medium to good condition.

Spider-Chrysanthemum Futon-gawa, $450. Shipping included within the continental U.S.