Written on January 7, 2009
January in New York is upon us, and there is a certain introspective mood conveyed by these overcast skies and somber days: it is winter, after all, and the silver light of a rainy, cold afternoon has its own kind of attractive melancholy.
I suppose writing this introduction is an apology for wanting to post a new, sun-drenched entry, but this is a diary of sorts, so things are what they are. And they aren’t so bad.
This is what you see when you first enter Sri in Brooklyn. In the entrance way to the showroom there is an antique, rustic, elm wood Chinese daybed which serves to display many of the objects and textiles in my collection.
Today this little mise-en-scene has the look of a Flemish interior probably from this winter light…but it’s that fabulous, black Korean pojagi that is suspended high above the daybed that is the most interesting part of this photo–to me, at least.
I love pojagi and this one could be the favorite from my whole collection.
This pojagi is of the variety called chogak po; it’s completely hand stitched, it’s made of ramie scraps and it is probably dyed in a charcoal-based ink. Its original purpose was to serve as a kind of storage wrapping cloth. Even though these home made pojagi are utilitarian by design and implementation, they still held esteem in the Korean household and were passed down through generations.
The randomness of the design is so wonderful, as is its color. The seams are all closed by minute whip stitches and the hours and days and weeks that it took to make this pojagi is impressive, to say the least.
I urge those visiting New York to stop by a privately operated Korean museum in New York’s Korean neighborhood, the Lee Young Hee Museum of Korean Culture. It’s a little jewel in the middle of a very busy, bumptious section of Manhattan—and plan to lunch at one of the many Korean restaurants which line the street where the museum is located. For far-too-long I’ve been meaning to visit Mandoo Bar for the dumplings that I’ve heard so much about–maybe one day…