Written on November 30, 2012
On my recent trip to Japan in October of this year, I acquired this magnificent sakiori hanten. This is a major piece, for many reasons.It’s of good size and is in great condition with no stains or holes; it is still bright blue from its indigo dyed cotton weft. The warp yarns are a bast fiber, probably hemp, which is what you want in giving high marks to a sakiori hanten. But notice the collar.The collar appears to be made from a woven textile, but in actual fact this yabane or arrow feather pattern is the result of painstakingly-done counted thread embroidery or sashiko.The sakiori, or ragwoven, fabric of the coat is the ideal for this genre of textile: primarily indigo dyed weft yarns, tightly woven, close in tonal and color range. And no damage.It’s difficult to pin an age on this kind of piece because traditional garments such as this were being made and worn well into the early-to-mid twentieth century. Because of the propensity of blue in the fill and because of the bast warp, it seems that this coat was made in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. The kasuri cotton sleeves are probably of a later vintage, but as you know, sleeves and collars were taken on and off as they were replaced when they wore out.