Written on July 7, 2014
This 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.
In 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.
For 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.
Early 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.