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Two Braided and Woven Rustic Rag Back Pads

Written on February 23, 2010

Today I am showing two rustic seate, a seate being  a kind of protective back pad used for carrying burden.

Seate1These two seate are a mid-twentieth century types; each is made of shredded cotton cloth that has been braided, twined and woven along with some hemp fibers.  Other seate–ones that pre-date these as well as ones that are contemporary to these shown here–are woven of rush, bast fibers or rice straw.   I posted an earlier entry on similar pieces with these two shown here visible in the photos, but they are not featured.   Have a look here.

Seate1aThe “festive” look of these fringed, brightly colored objects is a strange, visual irony when you consider that these pieces were used in heavy labor, on an ongoing basis.Seate1b

Seate1cIt seems that most of the rags used to weave these seate are commercially produced cottons: by the mid twentieth century when these seate were woven, mass produced cotton fabrics were ubiquitous in Japan.Seate1d


Seate1fNote the presence of some hemp twine in the construction of these seate.Seate1gI find this pair fascinating, compelling and really beautiful.

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  1. Comment by Darlene:

    You would think that someone would just throw together some kind of pad, but the makers put a lot of time and effort into creating these beautiful pieces. Even though their lives were hard, and full of work, these people still took the time to make something beautiful.

    February 23, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  2. Comment by Lambert:

    It’s true that if you didn’t know what they were, you could think those were used during a festival or some celebratory occasion. Very beautiful.

    February 25, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  3. Comment by velma:

    yes, these are wonderful pieces. beauty in use.

    June 6, 2014 @ 7:57 pm