silk temple cloth, Japan, Meiji (circa 1900), cm 120x118. This is an ‘uchishiki’, a squarish cloth of rich silk used to cover the front of altars in Buddhist temples. The origin of the uchishiki can be traced back to the lifetime of Shakyamuni Buddha. During the Buddha's time a custom was established of spreading out fine pieces of cloth for the Buddha to sit on when preaching to his disciples and others assembled to hear him. The cloth would be spread out and the disciples would bow in reverence to the Buddha with their foreheads touching the cloth at his feet. It later came to decorate the altar tables of temples on special occasions of hearing the Buddha's teaching. The actual piece looks like to have been obtained by joining two fragments from a large curtain or maybe a long banner. The result is impressive anyway… on a blue silk background, lined with cotton, an embroidery of golden threads outlines a bold pattern of clouds and meandering ribbons. Apart from little staining and a couple of loose threads on embroidery, the condition is good. a strong statement of design and a lovely thing to own.
price:  SOLD