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A Large Indigo Dyed Hemp Furoshiki: Trompe-l’oeil Sashiko

Written on January 24, 2014

NambuKatazome2I love the kind of cloth that was used in the making of this furoshiki which is a cloth used for wrapping, storing and hauling of household goods.  What I mean by that is that I love textile techniques that mimic others, in this case its a katazome dyed hemp or ramie cloth that is meant to look like it was completely sashiko stitched.

NambuKatazome2bThe asa cloth is densely hand woven and it feels wonderfully rustic and thick to the touch.  This furoshiki is still very crisp, which means that it was only lightly used during its lifetime.  I imagine it was made in the first third of the twentieth century.

NambuKatazome2cIt’s of good size.  It measures 51″ x 53″ or 129.5 cm x 134.5 cm and it is hand stitched from four panels of cloth.  This furoshiki likely comes from Japan’s north east region called Tohoku, probably from Nambu, which produced such cloth in its heyday.




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  1. Comment by Cally:

    I love Japanese textiles and woodblock art and I’ve really been enjoying your posts here but I’m so horrified by Taiji. Right now I’m feeling as though I can’t advocate anything from a culture where such cruelty is supported. What are your thoughts on it if I may ask?

    January 24, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

  2. Comment by Stephen:

    Of course I don’t support the slaughter of dolphins. This blog is not meant to be a forum for political discourse so I won’t comment more than this. I respect your views and I thank you for having just expressed them.

    January 24, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

  3. Comment by Cally:

    Thanks for your answer. I definitely wasn’t suggesting that you support it, sorry if my question came across that way. I just wondered if it had affected your love of Japanese art and culture. Let’s hope Japan bans it soon!

    January 25, 2014 @ 6:33 am

  4. Comment by Culture Pitcher:

    Cally, if you want to wave your wand and annihilate appreciation of an entire culture based on its transgressions, you will never benefit from or even grasp the beauty of things that you aren’t opened up enough to understand.

    January 25, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

  5. Comment by Cally:

    Hi Culture Pitcher, as you can see from Stephen’s response above, this isn’t the place for this discussion but if you’d like to message me on my blog, twitter, instagram, facebook or email please do (details on my blog).

    January 27, 2014 @ 7:19 am

  6. Comment by Saiyuu:

    This is a furoshiki seen well in Iwate. Material is hemp and a mixed-weave fabric of the cotton. In Iwate, the quilting that there is of the pattern is seen from Edo period only to early period of Meiji. As for the quilting, straight lines are often found. In neighboring Akita, similar linear quilting is seen in the item of the same period well. In Meiji, Taisho era, early days of the Showa era, Iwate, it was very hard time. Printing like the quilting was popular at the time when it was hard to buy a thread. Probably “it is Tokiwa Kongata”.

    February 13, 2014 @ 11:57 pm