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Archives for September, 2008

A Korean Pojagi

September 17, 2008

In the foreground is Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god who removes obstacles and whose name is invoked before beginning anything at all.  Ganesha occupies a central place at Sri.  The painted Ganesha is a Tanjore painting, a distinctive style known for its built-up gold details and its encrustation with “jewels.”

Beyond him, suspended in front of a window, is a large, beautiful Korean pojagi, a wrapping cloth which has been fashioned of ramie scraps and is entirely hand stitched.  Korean ramie cloth is extremely fine and their Hansan moshi, or ramie cloth from Hansan, is of especially high quality.

I’m completely smitten with pojagi and I have a substantial collection of them.  I love the intricacy of construction–whip stitched seams–and that pojagi project a “Modernist” look, even though they were made in the home for home use, and were intended to be passed on to future generations.  Notice how the top and bottom halves of this pojagi are repetitions of each other.  Pretty fascinating.

This one measures about 36″ x 36″/ 92 cm x 92 cm and I think it’s one of the best ones in my collection.  It dates from the early twentieth century.

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Some Stacks of Cloth

September 16, 2008

This is a corner of Sri showroom showing stacks of asa (hemp and ramie) and cotton fabrics, an old ledger book, and some other antique Japanese books–notably books from the Shikoku 88 Temple pilgrimage.  On the right are two, vertically placed rolls of hand woven cotton, white with a dark indigo plaid, that I bought in Turfan, Xianjiang Province, in China.  The Chinese cotton rolls are similar in width to Japanese cloth, about 13″/ 33 cm wide and I think they’re quite handsome.

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A Close up on a Katazome Yogi

This is a katazome yogi that was shown in a long shot in yesterday’s post.  I wanted to show it up-close as I think it deserves a bit more of a serious look: it is indigo dyed cotton, probably dates from the first half of the twentieth century and the central mon, or family crest, is of the crossed feathers motif.  (That’s my favorite Noguchi lamp in the left hand side of the frame, by the way.)

A yogi is a kimono-shaped comforter that would have been laid on top of the person who’s asleep like a quilt or blanket; it wouldn’t have been worn.  The repeat pattern is that of peonies amid a very florid trailing vine called karakusa in Japan.  Katazome is a stencil resist technique and the hand-cut stencils (called katagami) used to imprint designs are made of mulberry paper saturated with persimmon tannin and they themselves are works of art and are highly collectible.  I think I’ll talk more about the katazome technique in later blog entries.

The absolutely amazing thing about this katazome cloth is that it is double-sided: the clear impression is equally bright on each side, which means that the katazome artisan had to stencil resist both sides of the cloth, registering the stencil exactly and perfectly, front and back.  Mind boggling if you think about it.

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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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