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Archives for August, 2010

An End of Summer Insect Menagerie

August 31, 2010

What fun.  This wonderful textile is a mid 19th century tenugui, a kind of all-purpose hand towel that has many everyday uses and is still very much part of Japanese life.

Tenugui are known for their fanciful designs, but this one, with is stencil resist design of insects, snails and frogs is remarkable.The cotton of this tenugui is hand loomed; the pale blue color–dyed from botanical indigo–is called asagi.In Japan, the insects depicted on this hand towel are very much associated with late summer.  Similarly, around the world, butterflies and dragonflies appear at summer’s end.I love the delicacy of the depiction of these insects……and the frog and slug.

This is a wildly charming tenugui–and it seems that it was never used.  The condition is crisp and perfect.

This tenugui measures 12 3/4″ x 37″ or 32.5 cm x 94 cm.

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A Sashiko Stitched Noragi with White-on-Blue Gussets

August 28, 2010

This sashiko stitched noragi is a work coat that is as subtle as it is beautiful.   Sewn from repurposed indigo dyed cotton, the entire coat is pierced with horizontal rows of stitching, too numerous to count.The beauty of this soulful coat is enhanced by a remarkable feature: small, white-on-blue stitched gussets, one under each sleeve, perfectly placed, with the white color doled out in just the right amount.  Kind of perfect, aren’t they?Have another look at this wonderful feature, below.And in considering these stitched gussets, let’s not overlook the beautiful tone-on-tone fabric collage that is the back of this jacket.   Just extraordinary.The coat dates to the first half of the twentieth century and its condition is fine–it is still very wearable and durable, as many of these old coats are.

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