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Three Panels of Patched Cotton Kaya: Mosquito Netting

Written on August 28, 2009

While I was in Japan last month,  I came across a stack of panels of patched, cotton kaya or mosquito netting, three panels of which are shown here.  These panels were taken from a full kaya, which was a tent of gauzy cotton and was  feature of almost every home in old Japan–Japanese summers are hot and sticky, and mosquitoes are everywhere.

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I think these panels look best when suspended and back lit; in this way, the layered patches play best against the translucent, gauzy cotton, creating a beautiful contrast.

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By seeing these three panels together, you get a good sense of what the owner of this full kaya would have seen in their own home: quite a beautiful display of patches and unintended visual syncopation.

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Notice, too, how the blue, vertical stripes are woven into the cloth: at each selvedge edge they are given 1/2 their normal width: this was done to create visual coherence when one panel was placed next to another panel.  The flow of stripes would be even all around the kaya.

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Over time, starting soon, on my website I will be offering these kaya panels for sale.  If you’re interested in them, please don’t hesitate writing.

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2 Comments

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  1. Comment by marie:

    The panels are fabulous! I love the worn beauty and the random patches. Thank you.

    September 6, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

  2. Comment by Laurent:

    Stunning and beautifully displayed!

    September 9, 2009 @ 11:23 am