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An Absolutely Gorgeous Hemp Komebukuro: Benibana Dyed Details

Written on July 6, 2011

Komebukuro–or so-called “rice bags”–which are usually made from scraps of leftover cloth and configured to convey a festive air, are hardly ever more lovely than this one, which is hand stitched from hemp cloth.This one is in pristine condition and is sewn from about 18 separate pieces of hemp cloth–and the great joy of this bag is its ultra-pale pink-colored panels, the result of benibana or safflower dyeing.The pale pink against the indigo dyed kasuri cloth needs no explanation as to why it’s so lovely.  It just is.  And note the bag’s original drawstring which is hand braided from pale blue cotton yarns.And the bottom: just lovely.  Komebukuro were used to offer dry rice or beans to temples and shrines, mainly during festival times.  The pieced effect of the bags was to convey a joyous mood.  In truth, I’ve just acquired a group of old, cotton komebukuro that, when I’ve been sorting through them, have dropped a considerable amount of old, single grains of rice.  Clearly those komebukuro had been used.This drawstring bag seems not to have been used, it measures 8″ x 7″ x7″ or 20 cm x 17.5 cm x 17.5 cm and it most certainly dates to the 19th century.


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  1. Comment by paula:

    overwhelmed by its beauty.

    “Clearly those komebukuro had been used” and yet this one looks absolutely pristine.

    Love the wide pink stitches on the body, especially where it’s visible on the blue, and the orange stiches on the bottom panels.

    July 6, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  2. Comment by Indiana:

    Everything as it should be, encompassing beauty,utility and frugality

    July 6, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  3. Comment by Catherine:

    So beautiful!!!

    July 7, 2011 @ 5:30 am