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A Katazome Dyed, Sashiko Stitched Diaper

Written on December 28, 2009

Sometimes the most humble of things can continue to fascinate, the reasons for which are not easy to describe—or may not ever be fully understood.  Such is my interest in the anchor motif, and in particular as it is depicted on this wonderful and modest sashiko stitched diaper.  The anchor is rendered in the stencil resist dye method called katazome.

I just love the anchor form, which is popular in Japanese folk textiles, however it is not commonly used.  It mainly appears on items used for the wedding trousseau, such as this diaper, as the anchor symbolizes holding the bride secure in her new life.

Most likely this diaper comes from Izumo or present day Shimane: diapers such as this one were included as a set of seven in a wedding trousseau–often a customary gift from the bride’s family to the groom’s family–as they were auspicious tokens that welcomed and celebrated new life.  This diaper dates to the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and measures 22″ x 12″, 56 cm x 12.5 cm.

This anchor motif ties in to the subject of my next posting which will welcome the new year.  Stay tuned!


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