komebukuro w kite and boy, Daikoku boy Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0543

Komebukuro (rice bag for donation or gift of rice)
Silk, paper (reinforcement), cotton (lining)
Applique, hand painting

In the first photo it is a little bit difficult to see what the little boy is doing, although it is clear that his eyes are fixed in the distance. The spool of thread by his feet is a helpful clue, and upon closer inspection it is clear that there is a dotted line from the spool to the boy’s left hand and from his right hand into the distance.

Rotating the bag, it becomes clear that the boy is flying a fan-shaped kite with the rising sun in the fan’s center, and a huge sweeping tail. All of this is rendered in small bits of highly twisted chirimen silk, precisely cut into the needed shape and painstakingly sewn down. Kite flying has a long tradition in Japan, and continues to be very popular today.

komebukuro w kite and boy, Daikoku kite Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0544

On the bottom of the bag is Daikoku, one of the Seven Lucky Gods, often depicted carrying a huge bag of rice. Note that his rice bag has been deliberately patched together from three separate pieces of high quality cloth, emphasized with large basting stitches in contrasting colors.  Daikoku’s pinkish coloring might be due to bleeding from the red chirimen silk around him, which must have gotten wet at some point.

komebukuro w kite and boy, Daikoku base Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0546

Below is a vintage photograph commemorating Odako Matsuri, or the Big Kite Festival.  Note the size of the people in relationship to the kite.

Odako Matsuri - Big Kite Festival