Written on July 1, 2011
This length of cotton boro fabric is really astonishing: it’s a patched and mended piece of Kumanozome, a 19th century “Op Art-like” cloth that is characterized by overlaid, undulating vertical lines that produce a moire pattern.Twice before I”ve posted about Kumanozome, a strangely beautiful cloth that I love: here are the posts.Kumanozome was made in Western Japan, in what is present day Okayama prefecture. This cloth dates to the mid to late nineteenth century.After all these years collecting and dealing Japanese country cloth, this is the first time I’ve seen an example of Kumanozome that is patched and mended as this one is. What’s also notable about it is the relative crudeness of the dyeing: the lines are wide and imperfect. Like most Japanese folk textiles, a good example of Kumanozome is very well done, both from the technical and visual standpoints. This one is charmingly rough.