Wedding futon cover
Cotton (home spun)
Rice paste resist, dyes, pigments

The motif of the lion and peony is taken from the auspicious Noh play Shakkyo (Stone Bridge). The lion is viewed as masculine, the peony as feminine, appropriate for an item in a wedding trousseau.

Many futons are three and four panels wide. Five panel futons, such as this one, are less common, requiring more work and more coordination of the design from panel to panel during the creation process.

A similar futon cover, said to have been made in Kyushu, the southernmost of the central islands, is in the collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and shown in Reiko Mochinaga Brandon’s informative book, Country Textiles of Japan.

Some wedding futon covers were little used by their owners, and kept as family treasures, which enabled these textiles to survive far longer, and in far better condition, than they would have if subjected to daily use.  Despite its age, the colors on this futon cover are still vibrant.  Often the decorated front panel gets separated from the undecorated back panel (below). This futon cover still has its back panel.  Only the bulky fiber padding has been removed.  Through the slit in the photograph below (into which the padding would have been inserted), a sliver of the decorated front can be seen.