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A Large, Nine Panel Boro Hemp Kaya

Written on November 20, 2010

Kaya, or mosquito netting, was a staple of life in old Japan: Japan’s hot, humid summers are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so tents of woven hemp were a de rigueur fixture, even in humble or poor homes, all across Japan.

This fabulous, large, old, very repaired, boro, nine panel, loosely woven, hemp kaya is overdyed: it was first dipped in indigo, then dipped again in a yellow dye.  Like the post below this one, this kaya is from the Tohoku region, or rural northeast of Japan.The kaya would have originally been hung with the seams running vertically, not as shown.  This is a fragment from a large tent which would have been placed over a futon–or futons–for protection against pesky mosquitoes.The patching is fantastic.

Below is a historical woodblock print of a woman of means reclining on her futon, enclosed within a tent of kaya. Of course, the kaya shown in this post was not used in an upper class home such as pictured below, but it was used in exactly the same way as can be seen in the print shown here.Note the construction of the tent: the seams joining the sides and the top are sewn with cotton fabric, for strength and durability.

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4 Comments

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  1. Comment by Jannette:

    Beautiful.. What a find!

    November 21, 2010 @ 6:43 am

  2. Comment by Lambert:

    So nice to see a large size panel and not just fragments. I love the color hues, the patches … Just perfect!

    November 21, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

  3. Comment by ann schneider:

    It is so beautiful.

    November 22, 2010 @ 12:32 am

  4. Comment by montse llamas-artsandcats:

    It’s an incredible work and I like the way it is photographed!

    November 26, 2010 @ 3:27 pm