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A Pair of Blue-on-White Sashiko Stitched Tabi

Written on July 9, 2011

Today I am showing a pair of exceptionally fancy, yet rustic, tabi or the traditional split-toe “socks” of Japan.  These white cotton tabi are hand sashiko-stitched in indigo dyed cotton yarn. You can see that the body of the tabi are stitched in the traditional asa-no-ha or hemp leaf pattern; the toe areas are stitched in a complex grid made of dark and light triangles.And quite unusual is the applied, diagonally placed banding stitched in the yabane or arrow feather motif: obviously this is meant to provide wear against the traditional waraji, or the hand braided straw sandals that would have been worn over these tabi.The hand stitching on these tabi is spectacularly good.  As is the condition: they seem not to have been worn.My guess is that they were made in the Tohoku region or north east area of Japan, probably some time mid-twentieth century.These tabi are sitting on an intensely sashiko stitched maekake or apron.

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5 Comments

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  1. Comment by Nat:

    Wow, what a great find! Beautiful. Here I was wearing a free pair given away at the onsen in my hotel. Thanks for sharing.

    July 9, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  2. Comment by paula:

    amazing art/work(wo)manship. Next time show us the maekake up close. ^^

    July 9, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  3. Comment by Patricia:

    Beautiful stitching, just lovely pieces!

    July 16, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  4. Comment by faun Bonewits:

    they were obviously a work of love for some one dear.
    Could they have been done as a form of slipper?
    they seems extra thick,
    as if they were trying to keep some ones feet warm
    maybe they were for someone who didn’t walk much.
    or who didn’t wear them long.
    what do the bottoms look like?

    July 21, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

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