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.