Takaramono (treasure objects)

Objects representing different kinds of treasures have been popular subjects on Japanese textiles for centuries. This panel is rich with examples: bundles of stretched abalone meat (noshi) representing prolonged good fortune, raincoats of invisibility (the collars are almost heart-shaped) lying over the keys to the treasure house of the gods, precious cloves (a rare spice in Japan that was also used in medicine and incense), counterweights to weigh valuables (fundo), wish-fulfilling jewels, purses of inexhaustible wealth, and mallets of good fortune combine to suggest great prosperity.

The fabric is called jofu. It was finely woven with thin threads of ramie, a plant in the nettle family.

Sea Bream (tai) and the “Purse of Inexhaustible Wealth” (kinchaku fukuro)

The takaramono (treasure objects) of the “Purse of Inexhaustible Wealth” and a sea bream decorate this kasuri fabric. Sea bream, or tai in Japanese, is a very auspicious fish because the word for “celebrate”, “medetai”, includes this word. Traditionally this delicious fish was served at banquets, especially at weddings and for the New Year. Ebisu, one of the “Seven Gods of Good Fortune”, usually has a tai in his possession.

The “Mallet of Good Fortune” (uchide no kozuchi)

The takaramono (treasure object) on this panel is the “Mallet of Good Fortune.” Your wishes will be granted when this mallet is waved in your direction. Daikoku, one of the “Seven Gods of good Fortune,” is often depicted holding this mallet.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller