Japan; nineteenth century
Cotton; double ikat
L: 60.3 cm (25 in), W: 33.7 cm (13.2 in)
Total length and width of kasuri cloth on backing cloth:
Total length: 114.2 cm (44.96 in), Total width: 33.7 cm (13.2 in)
Fowler Museum X2008.6.42; Krauss Collection of Japanese Textiles
Shojo, also known as sake imps, have appeared as felicitous characters in Noh theater since at least the sixteenth century. On stage, the shojo dance and sing the praises of sake. Their defining characteristic is their long, flaming red hair—an effect that can’t really be captured with indigo-dyed ikat. To Japanese viewers before the era of modern hair-coloring products, this color gave the shojo an otherworldly appearance and marked them as supernatural beings.
Source: Gallery wall text from the exhibition Fowler in Focus: Japanese Pictorial Ikats from the Krauss Collection, 2012