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Archives for July, 2014

A Fantastically Good Boro Kaya: Rustic Hemp or Ramie Mosquito Netting

July 17, 2014

KayaBoro2I brought this magnificently beautiful thing back with me from my April buying trip to Japan–and when I first saw it my heart raced.  Such good, boro mosquito netting–woven from rustic hemp or ramie yarns as this one is–are harder and harder to find these days.

KayaBoro2aIts threads are rich, wiry and hand plied.  And the color: that watery, pale, blue or asagi iro as it’s called in Japan, helps create the impression of a cooling waterfall in the way I have it displayed.

KayaBoro2bThe patches and mending are gorgeous.  Have a look.


KayaBoro2dI’m not sure when this was made, but I suspect it was woven in the Meiji era (1868-1912).  It’s large at about 107″ x 37 1/2″ or 272 cm x 95 cm.

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A Beautifully Colored Sakiori Sleeping Mat: Indigo Dyed Rag Weaving

July 7, 2014

RagweaveSleepingMat1This beautiful, indigo dyed cotton textile was used as a sleeping mat, either by itself or as a mat on top of which a futon would be placed.  It is a sakiori textile, or a rag woven textile.

RagweaveSleepingMat1aIn old Japan, probably some time in the late 18th century when cotton was a new commodity, the only way that peasants could afford to wear this innovative fiber was to buy cotton rags and weave with them.   This is the origin of sakiori in Japan.

RagweaveSleepingMat1bFor centuries thereafter, well into the 20th century when this piece was woven, sakiori garments and bedding were still woven because they were practical and durable.  This piece is particularly nice for its rich indigo color, which is what you’d like to see if you are looking for a good sakiori piece.

RagweaveSleepingMat1cEarly sakiori textiles were woven with a bast warp since there was no cotton yarn to be found.  This one, being a later example, was woven using a cotton warp.  Some later examples of sakiori were woven with a bast warp, which indicates that they may have been woven in a deeply rural environment.  This piece measures 62″ x 45″ or 157.5 cm x 114 cm.

It’s a really beautiful sakiori textile.

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