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Archives for January, 2009

Sri’s “Mini-Exhibition” at Kiosk, 95 Spring Street, NYC

January 29, 2009

Kiosk, the wonderful store on Spring Street in SoHo has asked Sri to produce a “mini-exhibition” starting today, 29 January through 7 February.

We decided to show antique and vintage Japanese bags of all kinds: the pieced-constructed komebukuro, sakabukuro or sake straining bags, imon-bukuro which are the commercially produced “comfort bags” that were used to send gifts to soldiers during WWII.  We also brought some of our objects to sell, and we thought it would be a good idea to mix up the exhibition with some of Kiosk’s inventory from Japan.

It’s a fun juxtaposition: the old, hand-made items from Japan mixed together with commercial products from all over the world.  Certainly the Japanese ladies who decades ago hand stitched the bags on sale at Kiosk would never have imagined their handiwork on display in New York City!

Have a look at this nice Shaker drying rack available at Kiosk.

…and we love these baskets: truly multi-purpose.

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A Boro Asa Tsunobukuro: Patched Hemp “Horn Bag”

January 26, 2009

I’m showing here a corner of Sri, illuminated by the bright, afternoon January light, and arranged here is an antique tansu bearing boro, sashiko and sakiori jackets, but the real attraction is what is on the far wall, the long and wonderful boro asa tsunobukuro, or the patched and mended “horn bag” which is woven of hemp.

Tsunubukuro (tsuno=horn; fukuro=bag) are storage bags made from one continuous length of hemp cloth that is sewn on the bias.  Because of this bias construction, tsunobukuro are “springy” and their ability to accept bulk or volume is somehow elastic.  This tsunobukuro is a nice size: it measures 60″ x 17″, 152.5 cm x 43 cm and I think it dates to the early twentieth century.

Have a look at the rich, dark color of this bag: its patina is probably due to age, or, it could have had a quick dip in a kaki shibu bath.  Kaki shibu is green persimmon tannin which gives a brown color and is used to strengthen cloth: it also makes the cloth a bit impermeable to water.

The hemp thread stitches are really wonderful, too: have a careful look.  And do spend some time considering the patches and their arrangement on the bag, which I think is really fantastic.

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