A hand-painted silk tapestry from mid 20th century Japan made as a curtain to shield the depths of a home or tea room from guests. This type of thing was very important in the summer months, when sliding doors would have been removed to allow the air to flow through the inner chambers. Although it appears to be many pieces of cloth, in fact it is made of four strips, each bearing a number of individual paintings. Backed with wave patterned silk, it is 132 cm (52 inches) wide, 178 cm (70 inches) tall, the tassels extending longer, and is in overall fine condition, with minor marks and smudges from use (see close-up photos).
In pre-war Japan, painters mixed openly with other artists and art forms. Painters designed and decorated lacquer-ware and textiles, Potters designed furnishings and painted (in fact many were trained painters), Lacquer artists carved and wrote calligraphy, and the lines between trades were very blurry and everyone wrote poetry and song. This idea had roots in the literati ventures, when a literatus was expected to be adept at seal carving, writing poetry, calligraphy, painting, and cultural pursuits such as sword grading, martial arts, sencha and or Maccha tea ceremony, traditional dance, music etc. To be rooted in only one form was to be culturally lopsided. Postwar, the division between crafts and art grew steadily more prominent.