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Archives for 'Mingei textiles'

An Elaborately Stencil Resist Dyed Peacock: Katazome

February 15, 2014

Peacock1When I first saw these three panels from a futon cover I thought the large, multi-toned indigo dyed image was a phoenix; having a better look it was clear that this image is a peacock, an image not often seen on folk textiles.

Peacock1aThe peacock was resist dyed, possibly using a set of stencils, the technique is called katazome.  Or, maybe, this image was made using a combination of katazome with a free hand resist dyeing technique called tsutsugaki.  And what a complex image this is–and what a large one, too.  The peacock itself measures 27″ x 32″, 68.5 cm x 81 cm.

Peacock1bThe three panels are taken from a futon cover and as you can see by the wonderful fading on the indigo dyed cotton, this futonji was used hard.

Peacock1cThe level of detail on this piece is just fantastic–it’s a beautifully realized rendering.

Peacock1dIt probably dates to the late nineteenth century and its overall dimensions are 71″ x 37 1/2″ or 180.5 cm x 95 cm.  I will be listing this for sale on the webshop in the next few weeks.

Peacock1e

 

 

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A Sakiori Kotasugake, Apron and a Child’s Vest

April 21, 2009

Pictured hanging on the wall is a group of three very attractive sakiori pieces: on the top left is a child’s vest, underneath is a very rustic, repaired apron with cotton ties and on the right is a kotatsugake (a cover for a brazier which was used as a heat source) which is edged in red plaid cotton and is repaired with small patches.  This kotatsugake will be offered for sale on on 22 April on my website.

group1

Each of these pieces dates to the early-to-mid twentieth century: sakiori is a weaving technique whereby scraps of cotton or silk cloth is shredded and turned into yarn.   When cotton first became widely available in Japan in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, it was worn by urbanites who could afford this new cloth.  Very poor country people could only afford to buy cotton scraps which they used as a weft yarn, weaving it against a bast fiber warp.   Later, when cotton became more available, cotton yarn was used for the warp, as is the case with these pieces.

group1a

This child’s vest, below, is made from wool threads and shreds, slightly unusual for a sakiori piece as most are made from cotton.  It comes from an important sakiori collection and was found in Shimane Prefecture in 1993, a gift from the woman who made it to the collector.  Apparently, the weaver made this small sodenashi, or vest, for her grandchild.  Note the grey felt lining that has been partially removed.   Wool fibers were chosen for their lightness and warmth.

group1b

The apron, shown below here is very well-used.  In old Japan, aprons were an important accessory in the attire worn for work in every day life: they were worn for work in the home, in the fields and, if you were a shopkeeper, in your store.  This one of alternating white and blue cotton strips was clearly used everyday by a country lady as it shows the patina of wear, has some crude mendings, and shows some discoloration.  I like this piece a lot, for all these reasons.

group1c

Below is a stack of kotatsugake or brazier covers.  Pay special attention to the bright piece in the center of the stack.  This one comes from Aomori, one of the most remote and rural areas of Japan.  When commercially dyed cottons in bright colors became available in the early 20th century, they were employed for sakiori: imagine that these new colors were a novelty to country folk who only wove with natural fibers or cloth dyed in indigo or from other botanical sources.  This kind of bright cloth was referred to as karafuru a version of the borrowed English word, “colorful.”

group1d

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Two Cinnabar Stamped Japanese Pilgrims’ Books

September 19, 2008

These are two Japanese pilgrim’s books that have just arrived; I think I’ll post one on my website next week.  I believe they are from the 88 Temple pilgrimage on Shikoku island, Japan and they probably date to the 1920s or 1930s.

Each page on the book on the left is completely covered with the oily red cinnabar stamps which the pilgrim received at each of the temples visited on his sacred pilgrimage cycle: I have never seen a pilgrim’s book with such a profusion of red stamps on each page; the book is still very fragrant from the cinnabar.

Shikoku island’s 88 Buddhist temples are sacred as Shikoku was the birthplace of  Kukai (known posthumously as Kobo-Daishi), 774-835 CE, the Japanese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar and artist who brought Esoteric Buddhism to Japan from China.  In Japan it is known as Shingon.   Pilgrims would literally bushwhack their way around the island in an attempt to visit all the sacred temples, and this long trip would be arduous and, in some cases, fatal.   Most likely these books, being from the modern era, belonged to pilgrims who did not brave the elements to the extent of their forebears, but still, completing the pilgrimage takes devotion, determination and faith.

Have a look at the coats that pilgrims would wear by going here.

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Welcome to Sri Threads!

September 15, 2008

Welcome to Sri Threads
a companion to Sri, a website that sells antique Japanese folk textiles and vintage Indian textiles, primarily.

I’m starting this blog to provide a glimpse into my gallery for those who live too far away to visit Sri in Brooklyn, New York–and to encourage those who are coming to New York City to make an appointment to visit.

Here at Sri Threads I’m hoping to give a broader sense of Sri’s inventory and to talk about some special pieces from my own personal collection of Japanese folk textiles.

I’ll be updating this site regularly, and I’m looking forward to showing things that are interesting to me and, hopefully, to you.

Of course, if you see something of interest to you, do inquire about it as most (but not all) are available and some things seen on this site will not be offered for sale on the Sri website–don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a look around, and thanks for stopping by.

Here’s a long view into Sri, with an antique katazome yogi, or sleeping kimono, on the far wall.

This is a beautiful Korean pojagi suspended in front of a magnificent Japanese ‘mino’ shibori yukata: the shibori technique is called that because it mimics a mino, or Japanese rain cape.

Here’s a closer view on the mino shibori yukata, which most likely dates to the late nineteenth, early twentieth century. Certainly it was made in Japan’s unofficial shibori ‘capital’, Arimatsu.

This is a corner of Sri with two folk images of Ebisu and Daikoku, Japanese gods of fortune.

Another long view into Sri gallery–stop by again!

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