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A Complex Chogakpo Pojagi: Delicacy in Cloth from Korea

Written on March 30, 2011

As you probably have picked up from some previous postings, I love Korean pojagi, traditional wrapping cloths that are hand stitched from scraps of ramie or moshi cloth.  Today I am showing one of the favorite pieces in my collection.
At first glance this chogak po style pojagi, or one made of scraps, is deceptively simple in design, with its seemingly regular vertical stacks of diagonally-sliced blocks.  But keep looking.Notice how the stacked blocks become compressed at a certain point and then give way; how long, leaning diagonals cut through the blocks, providing a kind of counter-rhythm to the “melody,” as it were. Whoever stitched this pojagi had magnificent skill and deft fingers: some of the pieces of ramie cloth are so small that it’s a wonder that they didn’t simply unravel in her hands.

This probably dates to the middle swath of the twentieth century.   It measures 29″ x 28″ or 73.5 cm x 71 cm.  And it’s beautiful.And a quick update on the new webshop: we’re behind schedule, but hopeful for an unveiling within the next ten days.

THANK YOU for your patience and for visiting this blog, and please don’t give up yet: the shop will be up soon, and it will be showing some of the new finds from Japan, which I’m getting organized as I type this.

If you’d like to sign up for our weekly email announcing new items added to the shop, please send me an email: [email protected]


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  1. Comment by caro:

    Stunningly beautiful pojagi. Interesting that the ‘scraps’ are all the same fabric. Perhaps there was mostly just this fabric available for anything, and so leftovers were naturally all the same. In any case, the lines in this cloth are even more important than usual for chogakpo pojagi. Their complex rhythm creates both a fluid current across the whole piece and a cross current, or counter rhythm as you say. I can’t stop looking at it and imagining how it came together.

    March 30, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  2. Comment by Jannette:

    It is stunning – poetry in cloth.. What a treasure to have!

    March 31, 2011 @ 5:39 am

  3. Comment by ali:

    Beautiful and fascinating. Please add me to your shop email list. Thanks.

    April 1, 2011 @ 5:49 am

  4. Pingback from White Space Wednesday: Chogak po:

    […] until a few months ago. It’s a type of ancient Korean patchwork. This one is part of Stephen Szczepanek of Sri’s collection. “These cloths were created by the women of the household, from leftover scraps of fabric […]

    April 20, 2011 @ 8:19 am