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.
These 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.
The “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.
It 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.
Note the presence of some hemp twine in the construction of these seate.I find this pair fascinating, compelling and really beautiful.