X2008.6.196 Futon Cover

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Futon cover (futonji), fragment
San-in region, western Honshu, Japan
Cotton; weft ikat
Fowler Museum X2008.6.196, Krauss Collection of Japanese Textiles


This dynamic pattern combines lightning bolts, turtles, and round tama, or Buddhist wish-fulfilling “jewels.” In Japanese folklore, lightning (inazuma) is associated with rice agriculture; inazuma literally means “wife of rice.” The flowing mantles of seaweed growing on the turtles’ backs indicate long life. The tama is one of the most recurrent images in Japanese art, frequently a symbol of good harvests and prosperity.

Source: Gallery wall text from the exhibition Fowler in Focus: Japanese Pictorial Ikats from the Krauss Collection, 2012