Written on March 31, 2009
This post shows a wonderful, boro sakiori noragi, a work coat that is created from home made cotton rag weft woven against a cotton warp. The coat has been heavily patched from having been worn hard over the course of many years.
Sakiori’s history in rural Japan extends back about two hundred years, when finished cotton products were just being made available to the urban population of Japan.
The wives and daughters of farmers, fisherman and the like would buy cast-off rags from rag sellers who traveled from urban centers into the countryside to sell rags; a famous intra-Japan trade ship would also travel the coast of Japan, carrying with it rags to sell, among other cargo.
Sometimes a group of women would pool their meager resources to buy a bundle of rags. They’d sort the rags, wash them and then prepare them for use as yarn to create these thick coats. Prior to this, farmers and rural folk would wear what they could forage for and turn that into yarn, so they wore clothing of hemp, ramie, wisteria and the like.
With the advent of cotton and cotton rags, you could say this was the first time that the poor people of Japan–about 90% of the total population–enjoyed warm clothing. Bast fiber clothing, that made of ramie, etc., is not warming, as you can imagine.
It’s wonderful to see a sakiori coat woven from just indigo yarns. Because of its fine color and its wonderfully arranged patches, this boro sakiori noragi is a gorgeous example of Japanese rural clothing.