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A Long, Cotton Festival Cloth: Narrow Stripes

Written on February 11, 2012

Today I’m showing a long, cotton cloth of narrow black and white stripes; the cloth measures 26 feet or almost 8 meters in length.Striped cloth like this, or similar to this, is associated with Buddhist temple festivals or local matsuri or celebrations.  Stripes lend a festive air to ordinary, functional–and necessary–accessories which are used during celebratory events.   In a previous blog posting, here, I showed a variant on this striped festival cloth.If you look closely at this one you can see that it has been folded twice laterally, that is, along its length, so, when folded, it would be a long, narrow, rope-like cloth.  This cotton length may have been used to dress or lead a horse–and the horse would have also been accessorized with hand dyed textiles in order to be gussied up for the occasion.I particularly like the end of the bolt, seen below, where the dye flows to the edge of the cotton in an irregular way.  I’m not sure if this cloth was resist dyed using rice paste or if was dyed using the chusen method, a technique that would employ stencils and suction to pull dye through a stack of cloth.  Chusen was often used to decorate tenugui.Most likely this cloth dates to the mid twentieth century.  I like it–and at some point soon I’ll be offering it on the webshop.



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