Komebukuro (rice bag), for donation of rice to temple or shrine
Chirimen silk, brocade, metallic thread, cotton (lining), paper (backing)
Applique, handpainting, embroidery

This hexagonal rice bag has four appliqued and painted motifs around its side and a fifth on its base. A great deal of care has been taken in the making of the bag. Small pieces of the correct color fabric are cut and then sewn to the appropriate size and shape to create the desired parts of the designs. These are then handpainted to fill in what the fabric alone cannot do – facial details, folds and shades in clothing, shadows on land and water, textures on tree bark, stripes on the tiger, etc.

Above, the base depicts a handsome young Heian period aristocrat, most likely Prince Genji.

The lion and peony are a reference to the celebratory Noh play Shakkyo.

The tiger and bamboo are traditionally pictured together.

The small Chinese boy’s clothing has been cut and shaped in elaborate detail, and his expression and posture give him individuality.

Most of the fabrics used to make this bag were chemically dyed. Several brilliant shades of pink and red, and generous dabs of white paint, were used to bring out the brilliance of the much beloved peony.