The theme on this fukusa (Japanese gift cover) is “Kin ki Sho ga”, four accomplishments of noblemen. For a man to be well balanced and eventually become a good leader, practicing (and become good at) of “Kin ki Sho ga” was encouraged during their leisure time; ‘Kin’ (Jp. Koto, string music instrument), ‘ki’ (jp. ‘Go’, Chinese chess), ‘sho’ (calligraphy) and ‘ga’ (painting). This started in China and was brought back to Japan by traveling monks studying Buddhism. It was a popular subject among scholars and literati in Edo period (1603-1868) Japan.
Embroidery on this fukusa is one of the finest kind. Identical embroideries of chrysanthemums and foliage are seen in 18th century ‘kakeshita obi’ which identified the owner. Kakeshita obi is a formal obi that was worn under the ‘uchikake’, the outer gown, during the Edo period and was used by the families of Samurai, high ranking lady attendants in the castle, etc. They can also be seen on ‘uchikake’ gowns (from samurai family).
Condition: It is embroidered on a soft satin silk which shows weakened areas especially in the lower part. Beautiful but very fragile piece, best to be placed under a glass frame. Circa late Edo period. 26 1/2" wide x 27" long