There is no visible image of God in the Japanese Shinto religion. For this reason, people naturally find the spirit of God in their surroundings. From the ancient times, God was said to dwell in pine trees and as a result, we find many Meiji fukusa today that are decorated with pine trees. Many of them have their roots in Noh play. Japanese Noh, which was patronized by Muromachi and Edo Shogun, and performed exclusively for the Samurai class, was actually developed from a dance that farmers offered to God. They danced outside facing a pine tree (not a pine tree in the background of the stage as we see today). You can still see sacred old pines designated to some shrines today. They are called “Yogo no Matsu (pines).” Yogo (pronouced yoh goh) means the appearance of God on earth - decending from the tree. Photos of 600 years old Yogo no Matsu in Zenko-ji, Tokyo. http://kamisavil.blog40.fc2.com/blog-entry-34.html
This is a beautiful silk fukusa embroidered with an old pine tree of Takasago. The rake and broom under the pine belongs to Jo and Uba of Takasago. The Noh play, “Takasago”, written by Zeami in 14th century, began with a traveling monk who sees an old couple sweeping pine needles on the beach of Takasago. The couple are the spirits of pines grown in the city of Takasago and Sumiyoshi. Even though they are separated by distance, they are together in spirit. After talking about pine trees (about its beauty, strength, long life spun, etc.) and waka poem, the couple sail off (heading to Sumiyoshi) and vanish into the horizon, promising to meet the monk in Sumiyoshi.
Takasago symbolizes conjugal harmony, safe voyage (new beginning for a couple) and longevity. When pines drops their needles, they drop as a pair. Here on this fukusa, you can see them under the pine tree. By choosing Takasago as a theme, the giver probably hoped to bring the sacredness and the blessing of God upon a young couple's marriage. Appropriate gift cover for a gift exchanging ceremony prior to the wedding and New Year. This is one of the most beautiful fukusa. Red color is not as strong as it showed up in photos. Dimensions: 16 1/2" (width) x 19" (length)