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Archives for January, 2013

A 19th Century Boro Work Coat: Great Old Cottons

January 31, 2013

Noragi12Sometimes it happens that I discover something really wonderful that I bought a long time ago and that I forgot about.  Finding it is often a revelation, as was the case when I recently came upon  this very good old work coat.

Noragi12aI don’t know how–or why–I forgot about it, but often seeing something after a long time gives you “new eyes” and makes you appreciate it more. That’s the case with this boro coat.

Noragi12bIt’s a very nice one.  It is hand stitched from old  home spun, hand woven cottons of great variety.  There’s wonderful sashiko stitching–and the indigo blue is beautifully faded and worn.  But for me it’s the ito aji or thread flavor that makes me admire this piece so much.

Noragi12cCan you see that this is an older piece?  There is an indescribable eloquence in its character which comes from the warmth of human wear.

Noragi12dIt more than likely dates to the late nineteenth century.  It measures 49″ x 47″ or 124.5 cm x 119.5 cm.

Noragi12eThe cottons are really good.  I love the small checks which are emblematic of the 19th century, especially those that appear to be woven bamboo.  This pattern is called sankuzushi, and it’s one of my favorites.




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A Beautiful, Big, Boro Hemp Noren

January 19, 2013

TatteredNoren09I really love this piece.  It’s a five panel, hand plied hemp, boro noren.  It’s wonderfully mended and the patches are beautifully placed.  I love the oversized kanji, too.

TatteredNoren09aA noren is a kind of curtain or doorway cover.  Noren can be long, as this one is, or very short, as some of you may have seen.  Noren don’t always cover doorways, often they are used to demarcate space and address a psychological transition between spaces, interior or exterior.

TatteredNoren09cNoren can also be shop signs, as this one is.  Noren are hung outside businesses when the business is open, and they often have the name of the business written on it or they show some kind of image that is associated with the business.



TatteredNoren09j I believe this one dates to the Meiji era (1868- 1912).  It measures 60″ x 59″ or 152.5 cm x 149.75 cm.

TatteredNoren09k And both sides are equally interesting.


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