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A Silk Boro Cloth: Safflower Dyed Paper Patches

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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Sashiko Stitched Hand Guards

October 26, 2013

Handcovers09I just returned from a buying trip to Japan, and when I’m there I never know what I’ll find–and what I won’t find.  Luckily, this past time I happened upon things I rarely see, sashiko stitched hand guards.  And I didn’t find just one pair–I found three.

Handcovers09aThe pair shown above is my favorite for its age, its good stitching and its wear.  But I’m thrilled to own all three of them.  They probably date to the early to mid twentieth century.

Handcovers09bAlthough I can’t be sure, I have a hunch, based on the situation where I acquired these, that the two pairs shown above are from Japan’s northern or eastern area.

Handcovers09cThe pair shown above is wonderful for its base cloth of kasuri or ikat woven cotton.  The white dots, which are the result of all-over sashiko stitching, are a wonderful design foil to the kasuri cloth which composes most of each of the gloves.

As I’m so enamored of these pairs of mittens I am in no rush to sell them. But do have a look at my webshop from time to time to see if I’ve decided to list a pair for sale.


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