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A Very Stitched and Layered Boro Kotatsu Cover

Written on November 21, 2009

When I travel to Japan to look for antique, rural, utilitarian cloth, I am always very pleased to find a piece like this very heavily layered and sashiko stitched kotatsushiki.  Coming across very stitched, boro textiles like the one shown on this post is becoming rarer and rarer, so locating such a piece is pure pleasure.

This heavily layered, square-shaped blanket was used to capture heat: a kotatsu is a brazier over which a wooden table armature is placed, over which layers of blankets are draped in order to contain heat and for people to be able to tuck themselves under to keep warm.  Have a look at a modern-day, electric kotatsu here.

Enjoy looking at the photos of this fine, old piece, which is sewn together from old cloth, probably deconstructed kimono and bedding.


Although this piece does not show it specifically, some kotatsushiki show wear on its four edges: often you’ll see layers of patches on these areas, which makes sense as the four edges received most wear from people scooting underneath for wear.




Do feel free to contact me if you have interest in acquiring this beauty or if you have questions.

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  1. Comment by caro:

    ‘Pure pleasure’ is an understatement, but what can one say, after all, about such an extraordinary piece? The composition is so sophisticated, and one supposes it is intuitive and derived from the larger Japanese aesthetic culture. This could be true, or perhaps we shouldn’t be concerned and just stare in disbelief at the beauty of this kotatsu and be glad. Thank you, Stephen.

    November 21, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

  2. Comment by Velma:

    this is lovely. the stitching’s amazing.

    November 24, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

  3. Comment by polline moineau:

    it is really splendid, what a chance to find this!
    I discover your site and will come again, thank you for your beautiful posts…

    December 8, 2009 @ 12:45 pm