Futon cover (?), recovered from maiwai (fisherman’s coat)
Cotton
Stenciled, paste resist, dyes and pigments

The design elements of this futon cover indicate that it was initially intended as a maiwai, a celebratory fisherman’s coat.  (See Daily Japanese Textile January 2, 2014 for a maiwai in its original form.)  The two central panels show the widely separated left and right side of a large crest, embellished with a characteristic flying crane.  There are no cuts by the crests where the collar would have been attached, so it appears as though the materials may never actually have been made into a maiwai.

The crest above reads “Nakamura Gyogyobu”, or Nakamura Fishing Group. The crest below reads “Okane Gyogyobu”, or Okane Fishing Group. Generally, a standardized maiwai only had one name on it, so this futon cover (?) may combine panels from more than one maiwai.  The left and right side of the crane line up very well.  Could this indicate a high rate of standardization in the maiwai industry, or did the Nakamura and Okane groups work together?

The yellowtail (buri) indicates that this group specialized in yellowtail fishing. Yellowtail fishing was hazardous, and yellowtail fisherman commanded a certain amount of respect.

The knotted cord threaded in the material at the bird’s tail looks typical of knots that are used to bind two layers of fabric together, with a layer of batting in between. The knot and the four panels seem to indicate that this might have served as a futon cover.

The reverse side:

A fiber close-up.

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