Cross-shaped Crest Curtain Screen

  • Edo period
  • 17c
  • 2-panel screen, shibori resist-dye on silk
  • H-166.8 W-274.4
Catalogue Entry

Edo period, 17th century
2-panel screen, shibori resist dye on silk
Height, 166.8cm; width, 274.4cm

A fragment of a curtain, shibori-dyed with a cross-shaped family crest, has been mounted as a 2-panel screen. The ground is a purple plain silk on which 2 large crosses have been left in resist white. The fabric panels are each approximately 34cm wide, and 5 panels have been stacked vertically to form the overall height of the curtain. The cross-shaped family crests are 114cm tall and 108cm wide and were created in a shibori-resist dye technique.

Traditionally, navy blue was the preferred color for these curtains, but according to the Bunka Bukan, purple was favored over navy blue during the Edo period. Originally, the curtain would have shown the cross-shaped family crest of the Shimazu family left white against a purple plain-weave silk ground, and this fragment of the curtain has been mounted as a 2-panel screen. The selvages have been cut off of each width of fabric, but since the cross-shaped crests are naturally formed without breaks, it would seem that the present width of the fabric is close to its original form. The curtains of the Edo period show such tiny amounts of bleeding around the needle holes that it almost appears that they were not created with a sewn shibori technique, but rather with a paste-resist method. But this curtain shows both slightly rough needle holes and a lack of bleeding around these holes which would indicate that it is somewhat closer in date to Momoyama shibori techniques. The width of each fabric panel is narrower than those in cat. no. 88, and this size difference indicates that this screen was created after the beginning of the Edo period. KS