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Rat and Daikon Tenugui

Rat and Daikon Tenugui

$ 28.00


Screenprinted Rat and Daikon Tenugui

The second in my “Favorite Historical Pots” series, this tenugui is based on a Japanese Edo era blue and white dish in the Tokyo National Museum. In my drawing, in honor of the Olympics planned for Tokyo (and now postponed), I’ve drawn five variations of the plate in the form of the Olympic rings. My parents were in Tokyo the last time the Olympics were held there in 1964. In this version, the rat hunching is the original, but also the rat also sleeps, eats, lifts heavy radishes, and surfs. In a modern high tech twist, the Buddhist jewels are drawn as jewel emojis.

Because I loved this plate the first time I saw it years ago, I taped a postcard of it up in the studio, only to forget about it until it reappeared for this project. The towering daikon, the hunch of the rat, the Buddhist jewels- it’s obvious that it’s packed with symbolism and the more I’ve researched, the more I like it. In a nutshell, the daikon and rat are often paired and relate to the god Daikoku, the god of Wealth and one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Leader of the zodiac animals because it was the first to reach the Buddha on his deathbed, the Rat is an auspicious symbol in Japan. 

In this year of the Rat, 2020, and in the spirit of this plate, I want to wish everyone prosperity in the broadest possible sense. Wealth, not through the metric of a bank account, but through more abundance in people’s hearts and communities. May you be rich in friends, family, and love. And may you share your prosperity with those in need and may we set policies that are more equitable. This is really the spirit of this Daikoku tenugui.

Measures 13"x35"
100% cotton, unfinished ends
White, light gray, and dark gray
Made in Japan

100% cotton Japanese tenugui that may be used as a hand towel, head wrap, gift wrap.