It's a roll containing 20 patterned fabric squares which my father-in-law gave me. I think he originally picked it up in an antique shop. Forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea if the printed characters are Chinese or Japanese - can anybody enlighten me please?!
The end of the roll has a small lime green panel with writing on it…
…then as it unrolls, there are 20 different fabric designs, each section approximately 14" x 11'.
These panels are numbered like so:
I've shown my favourite designs below, in addition to these, there are also several plum/purple based designs.
The Japanese fabric shop Fabric Tales carries a very similar design to the last pattern in its 'Traditional Patterns' section. It's called Asanoha or hemp leaf. This makes me think that the fabric roll may be Japanese, but I could be completely wrong. My father-in-law's guess is that it was a sample roll used to sell new fabric designs, hence the numbering and the small, sample sizes of each design. I think he could be right.
The fabric type feels incredibly soft and drapey, like some sort of silk crepe. I did initially toy with the idea of using some of the sections as secret pockets or facings, but when push came to shove, I just couldn't bear to cut into the roll. All I know for certain is that the designs are absolutely exquisite. It's a joy to unroll it and look at the beautiful colours and designs.
If anybody has the slightest inkling as to what this is, or even how old it might be, I'd love to hear! x