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A Curious 19th Century Indigo Dyed Jacket: Insects and Radiating Lines

Written on August 21, 2010

What a fanciful garment: this is an indigo dyed cotton han juban which is a woman’s half-under-kimono, that has been dyed in using the stencil resist method called katazome.
By fanciful, I mean the pattern on the han juban, not the garment itself.   It’s wonderful to see the repeat pattern of what appears to be bumblebees amid a network of angled, radiating, dotted lines.  This linear pattern evokes a spiderweb, which I think this is not.
The cotton of this piece is just what you’d want to see on an old, Japanese textile: hand spun cotton that has been hand loomed.  The condition of this piece, too, is very good, with the indigo still very strong and clear, and devoid of stains or distracting patina.  This han juban was made in the mid to late 19th century.A repeat pattern of insects, such as this, is not usually seen on old textiles, so this is a treat to contemplate.

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  1. Comment by pam:

    Bees wonderfully designed — what an engaging garment!

    August 21, 2010 @ 10:22 am

  2. Comment by annell Livingston:

    Wonderful! Marvelous! Love it!

    August 21, 2010 @ 11:35 am