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A Group of Four Pale and Patched Boro Sakabukuro

Written on January 2, 2011

This is a group of four, boro sakabukuro, or sake straining bags: the pale brown color and the strident white patching and mending are really beautiful.

I’ve shown some other sakabukuro on this blog in the past, so have a look at the word cloud or “tags” to the right of this posting, click on sakabukuro.  You can view some of the preceding posts.These bags are made of a commercial grade cotton duck canvas cloth which has been saturated in kaki shibu, or the tannin of green persimmons.  Kaki shibu helps strengthen the fibers of the cotton and that’s a good thing: in order to make sake, these bags were filled with unfiltered sake lees; the filled bags were then pressed so a purer form of sake would start draining from the bag, leaving the solids behind.The repeated pressure applied to these bags during the sake making process would affect the condition of the bags, necessitating patching and mending.Soy sauce was made in a similar way using similar bags and although these bags are generally referred to as sakabukuro, one cannot be certain if they were used for making sake or soy sauce.  Unless, of course, someone tells you from where these bags were procured.All the patching and mending of the bag is done by hand.  However, the top seam is finished with machine stitching.Each of these bags measures 30″ x 10″ or 76.5 cm x 25.5 cm.  They probably date to the mid twentieth century.   A gorgeous group!

2 Comments

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  1. Comment by Christi:

    Wonderful thread marks from the mending!

    January 2, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  2. Comment by Kathryn:

    These are so incredibly beautiful. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful details. Simply stunning.

    January 2, 2011 @ 10:57 pm