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Fukusa (gift cover)

Fukusa (gift cover)

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1868-1912 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Crêpe silk (<i>chirimen</i>) with silk thread embroidery

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J. B. Clark Thornhill, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Fukusa (gift cover) of reddish brown satin weave silk with silk thread embroidery depicting two crows and a sunrise. The crows are embroidered in black thread, mixed in with purple and green threads to portray the birds' plumage as realistically as possible. The sun is embroidered in white, its outline is not clearly defined but it is represented as being in a mist. The lining is safflower (beni) red crêpe silk (chirimen), sewn in the tachikiri-awase style using 38.5 cm width fabric for the front and lining. In the right hand corner there is a poorly executed embroidery of bamboo, pine needles and plum blossoms (shou-chiku-bai), contrasting sharply to the fine craftsmanship of the front. The lining may have been embroidered by the user of the fukusa, having acquired the front separately. The motif of the sun and crows, represents the sun god Amaterasu Omikami and Yata-garasu (Yata-crow), who guided Emperor Jinmu, the first Emperor of Japan to victory in Yamato. The crows are depicted as a couple symbolising peace and harmony. This fukusa is traditionally used at New Year, as a tribute to enlistment or enrolment in the army, the conferring of a decoration, or as a farewell gift for soldiers going into battle. The motif on the fukusa reflects the loyalty and patriotism that centred around the Imperial family in the Meiji period.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


ca. 1868-1912 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Crêpe silk (chirimen) with silk thread embroidery


Width: 27 in, Length: 33 in

Descriptive line

Fukusa (gift cover), crêpe silk (chirimen) with silk thread embroidery, Japan, ca. 1868-1912, Meiji period


Textiles; Embroidery


East Asia Collection

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