Hikeshi no Zukin (Fireman’s hood)
Cotton, tortoiseshell (buttons)
Tsutsugaki, handpainting, dyes and pigments, sashiko stitching

Outwardly austere and featureless, when opened this protective headgear boasts a beautifully rendered dragon and tiger. The dragon and tiger often appear together in Japanese art, but so much symbolism surrounds each of these animals that it is hard to say with certainty for which reason they were chosen in this case. Most likely their primary purpose here is to evoke the qualities of strength and fearlessness, two qualities vital to a firefighter. In addition, the dragon is closely associated with water, and is said to bring rain, making it a particularly apt motif.