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A Collection of Old Tabi Patterns: Recycled Paper

Written on February 8, 2013

TabiPatterns1 These are some of my favorite objects from old Japan: recycled paper tabi patterns, tabi being traditional split-toe socks.

TabiPatterns1aA few years ago I came across another set of these, so when I found this group, I was thrilled.  I think you can probably see why.  They’re really beautiful, and they have a rich and soulful presence.

TabiPatterns1bThe photo, above, is a pattern for a shin guard, or kyahan, which were an essential part of daily costume in old Japan–for farmers and elite people alike.

TabiPatterns1cYou can see that some of the patterns are for the soles of the tabi, while others are for the sides, or the “boot” part of these split-toe shoe-socks.

TabiPatterns1dThey’re all beautiful–at least to me.  Some patterns are made on lightweight washi while others are on thick, card stock.

TabiPatterns1eThey probably date to the late nineteenth century or so.




Comments closed

  1. Comment by Lynda Howells:

    Oh theses are gorgeous..l would love to have found these. you are a very lucky woman. What are you going to do with them? x Lynda

    February 8, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

  2. Comment by velma:

    well, i think they have a soleful presence.

    they’re quite nifty, too!

    February 8, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

  3. Comment by jean betts:

    well done Velma! the patterns created by the recycled writing are fascinating.

    February 9, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

  4. Comment by Jane Fuller:

    Yes these call up my hands, wanting to touch them.
    I must come see/touch them…or are they for sale.
    Thank you so much for your work collecting and for the
    copy and photos…Best wishes, Jane

    February 21, 2013 @ 10:47 am

  5. Comment by Jane Fuller:

    Are these on offer, for sale? Why would you,
    until you have gazed and fondled them a lot.
    Are they visit-able, at your shop> Best wishes,

    February 21, 2013 @ 10:48 am