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An Intensely Sashiko Stitched Sledge Hauling Vest from Yamagata Prefecture

Written on September 1, 2009

The entirety of this indigo dyed cotton vest is densely sashiko stitched, including the dark, indigo cotton bodice, whose texture is the result of an intensive piercing by tone-on-tone stitching called kakurezashi or hidden stitch.


This unusual and beautiful work apparel is from the Shonai Plain, or modern-day Yamagata Prefecture in eastern Japan.   As the title of this post says, this vest was constructed and stitched in this fashion for the purposes hauling a sledge: the diagonally-placed, reinforced chest band would have provided protection against the friction and weight of the strap of the burden.



Both the diamond and persimmon flower sashiko motives are stitched onto this late nineteenth century or early twentieth century garment.  Obviously, the stitching serves to further strengthen these areas of the vest.


See a similar example, “Japanese Country Textiles: Victoria & Albert Museum, Far Eastern Series,” Anna Jackson, Weatherhill, 1997, page 109, fig. 78.


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  1. Comment by angeles:

    very interesting your blog. thanks!
    cheers from South America

    September 8, 2009 @ 11:59 am