Over the Blue Horizon

Beauty of Tsutsugaki

“The Beauty of Tsutsugaki” by Entani Shigeru looks at the time-honored Japanese tradition of tsutsugaki, a traditional method of dyeing cloth using rice paste to create a particular design. Long considered an art of the common people, it boasts a long history in both cities and the countryside, and often displays a delightful spontaneity and rare individuality of expression. In creating a tsustugaki cloth, rice paste is typically made from a very sweet rice, which has a high starch content and is therefore rather sticky. The paste is applied through a tube (the tsutsu) similar to the tubes which are used by bakers to decorate cakes, and a related process called katazome is to apply the paste through a stencil. The cloth is typically cotton, and the dye is typically indigo, so the design is usually a stunning white on blue. Banners for ships and shops, and workmen’s jackets are sometimes made in this manner. The designs are often creatures from Japanese mythology such as the crane or the tortoise, or a family crest, or a name written in kanji. Flowers and trees are common motifs as well. Eighty three tsutsugaki items are highlighted in this book, each nicely photographed and well described in both Japanese and English.

This approximately 130-page, 9 x 12 inch hardcover with dust jacket was published by Daruma Publishing in Japan in 2007. Condition of this book is brand-new.

This approximately 130-page, 9 x 12 inch hardcover with dust jacket was published by Daruma Publishing in Japan in 2007, and its condition is BRAND NEW.  

Please note that Over The Blue Horizon is also selling another book on tsutsugaki – “Tsutsugaki Textiles of Japan: Traditional Freehand Paste Resist Indigo Dyeing Technique of Auspicious Motifs”. The books are similar in that they are mostly comprised of color plates, and in the back of the books there is textual information for each plate. Both books are written in both Japanese and English. Now, the differences: in "The Beauty of Tsutsugaki", there are a wider variety of subjects and items shown: fans, horsetrappings, banners and curtains as well as the more common kimono, bedding, and wrapping cloths with a wide variety of subject matter. The essay at the back of the book contains information about regional and period groupings of tsutsugaki, using examples from the book to compare. Different materials used for tsutsugaki are discussed and there is a detailed description (a few pages) of the tsutsugaki dyeing process. And the textual information for the color plates includes an estimate of the time period the piece came from.  

In the other book -- "Tsutsugaki Textiles of Japan: Traditional Freehand Paste Resist Indigo Dyeing Technique of Auspicious Motifs" -- the key words are "auspicious motifs". The book is organized into chapters by motif: phoenix, lion, peony, noshi, pine, bamboo, plum crans, fan, plants, tea ceremony utensils, crests, animals, folk tales - to name most but not all of them. Most of the tsutsugaki shown is on kimono or bedding. At the back of the book in the list of the plates, there is just information on the subject matter and type of item, no historical dating. There are a few pictures of the dyeing technique and a brief description. There is a short essay about the history of tsutsugaki, and a brief description with a few pictures of the dyeing technique.