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A Silk Boro Cloth: Safflower Dyed Paper Patches

Written on June 5, 2014

PaperRepair3I bought this boro textile on my recent April trip to Japan, but it wasn’t until I returned home and had a good look at it that I realized there was some something special going on: some of the patches on this tsumugi silk boro piece are paper which was dyed in safflower or benibana.

PaperRepair3aQuite wonderful: paper patches.  Those of you who know washi, or traditional Japanese paper, know that it’s made of long fibers and is a very versatile and strong material: it’s kind of like a non-woven textile. That said, it’s no wonder that paper patches were used here, being that washi is a strong and lightweight material.

PaperRepair3bLooking at the base cloth you can see that it’s a lightweight, brown-dyed raw silk.  The white splotch was resisted when the cloth was dyed and it’s a family crest.  This means that this cloth was once a kimono because kimono were decorated with family crests of this size and placement.


PaperRepair3dThis is a gorgeously boro or tattered old cloth, probably dating from the Meiji era (1868-1912).  It measures 32″ x 27″ or 81 cm x 68.5 cm


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Comments closed

  1. Comment by velma:

    holy moly, this is beautiful!

    June 5, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

  2. Comment by judy keathley:

    this takes my breath away.

    June 5, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

  3. Comment by Maya Sara Matthew:

    Imagine using paper – was it a case of necessity being the mother of invention? I wonder.

    June 6, 2014 @ 1:56 am