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A Miniature Cotton Kaya: Sewing Practice

Written on September 13, 2012

Today I’m showing a miniature (14 1/2″ h x 13″  w x 12″ d or 37 cm h x  33 cm w x  30 cm d) kaya which is traditional mosquito netting found all over old Japan.  You can see that I placed a zokin under the kaya to convey a sense of its small size–but also to mimic what a futon cover would look like in full scale.  A full scale kaya is a tent under which a person would sleep during Japan’s steamy, buggy summers.It was customary in Japan, as it was in other parts of the world, to learn sewing skills by first producing small models.  This is how this mini-kaya came to be–it was probably made during the second quarter of last century.Traditional kaya were usually made of woven hemp fiber.  This model is made of cotton.You can see how the seams here are scaled-down versions of the traditional Japanese loom width of about 12″ – 14″ or 30 cm to 36 cm.
The rigging of this practice kaya is completely as it would be were the kaya actual size.Really remarkable in its detail: you know that the person–likely a girl–who stitched this was doing so under stern eye of a strict teacher.  Imperfection was not an option.Even the details, like the small brass ring, are intact and in scale to this model.Overall, this small kaya is in very good condition.  From decades of storage there is  wide band of  ingrained dirt around its center, as well as a few holes the size of match heads, but other than that, this is kaya is in good shape.

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  1. Comment by velma:

    this is a lovely thing, beautifully made. i am curious about this: why not screen the windows/doors with cloth so the whole space indoors would be insect free(er)? surely when one gets out of bed in the morning the bugs can then have at it?

    September 15, 2012 @ 7:21 am