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A 19th Century Boro Work Coat: Great Old Cottons

January 31, 2013

Noragi12Sometimes it happens that I discover something really wonderful that I bought a long time ago and that I forgot about.  Finding it is often a revelation, as was the case when I recently came upon  this very good old work coat.

Noragi12aI don’t know how–or why–I forgot about it, but often seeing something after a long time gives you “new eyes” and makes you appreciate it more. That’s the case with this boro coat.

Noragi12bIt’s a very nice one.  It is hand stitched from old  home spun, hand woven cottons of great variety.  There’s wonderful sashiko stitching–and the indigo blue is beautifully faded and worn.  But for me it’s the ito aji or thread flavor that makes me admire this piece so much.

Noragi12cCan you see that this is an older piece?  There is an indescribable eloquence in its character which comes from the warmth of human wear.

Noragi12dIt more than likely dates to the late nineteenth century.  It measures 49″ x 47″ or 124.5 cm x 119.5 cm.

Noragi12eThe cottons are really good.  I love the small checks which are emblematic of the 19th century, especially those that appear to be woven bamboo.  This pattern is called sankuzushi, and it’s one of my favorites.

Noragi12f

 

Noragi12g

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A View into Sri Showroom

December 8, 2011

I just received my work back from the Mottainai exhibition at the Portland Japanese Garden and I was inspired to hang some of these pieces at my Brooklyn showroom.The boro noragi, or work coat, that is floating above the table in the center of the photo, above, and shown, below, was not in the show.  I hung it in a prominent position to show it off: I think it’s an A++ piece.I’ve never seen a jacket with this many patches of this small size: some of them are as small as a postage stamp. I apologize for the poor photos; the light was not cooperating with me.  I wanted to show this noragi, so I figured a bit of a tease in the form of poor photos is better than not showing the piece at all.The inside of this coat, shown here,  is like a mosaic with its tessellated surface.   This is an extremely beautiful boro noragi.

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