Old horizontal calligraphy mounted sidewise.
The proper orientation would be 90 degrees counter-clockwise, reading from the right.
The mounting silk is from a sari, with the border design used for the ichimonji strips at the top and bottom of the work.
The quote is from Lao Tzu. This was originally an unmounted horizontal piece of calligraphy. I could tell from the holes that it had been thumbtacked up somewhere for a long time. I decided to mount it vertically—in order to make the characters look more like abstract designs. I realized that many friends who do not read Chinese or Japanese are able to appreciate calligraphy sheerly for the design--whereas my left brain impulse is to immediately start thinking about meaning. This unconventional mounting helps me appreciate the characters in a different way.
(Several years later, this lead to The Innocent Eye project.)