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A 19th Century Boro Work Coat: Great Old Cottons

Written on 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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  1. Comment by Claudia:

    I think I know what you mean about ‘new eyes’ in this instance. I have found that sometimes when you think you have seen all there is to see on an item and put it away, so to speak, when it reappears there is something else about it that strikes you. Similar to re-reading a favourite book and finding something new, or finding new things in paintings.
    There is indeed a lot going on in this item.
    Thank you for showing it.

    February 1, 2013 @ 5:50 am

  2. Comment by diane:

    I agree with Claudia but also when I relook sometimes at something collected long ago I re meet my former self and say…good for me I got it then hope I don’t forget.
    love this one.

    February 6, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  3. Comment by Claudia:

    Ah, yes, Diane , that is indeed another aspect , I know what you mean.

    February 7, 2013 @ 2:12 am

  4. Comment by Chrissie:

    Beutiful.spiritual garmentwith soul

    February 8, 2013 @ 6:02 pm