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A Silk and Cotton Boro Han Juban: Some Hemp Thread Stitching

February 22, 2013

SilkBoro2Since I specialize in indigo dyed cotton boro textiles, today I thought I would show a variation on this theme by posting images of a silk and cotton piece-constructed han juban, a half under-kimono.

SilkBoro2aIn old Japan, many han juban were made by piecing together scraps of cloth and no doubt you’ve seen examples on this blog.  In this case, both indigo dyed cotton and silk fragments were pieced together using a very strident and noticeable stitching, much of it done using hemp thread.

SilkBoro2aaOn the above photo you can see how direct the stitching on this han juban is.

SilkBoro2bAnd above you will see a detail of the collar area: the bottom part of the collar is indigo dyed cotton and the top is of nice, 19th century katazome silk.

SilkBoro2cAnd the inside is very interesting, as well, with more examples of piece construction.


SilkBoro2eThe back, too, has interesting details.

SilkBoro2fI think this piece probably dates to the Meiji era (1868-1912) and it measures  30″,76 cm from shoulder to hem x 48″, 122 cm from sleeve tip to sleeve tip.


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A Complex and Beautiful, Mid-19th Century Katazome Dyed Han Juban made of Samples

October 27, 2010

This intricately stencil resist dyed han juban is a feast for the eyes: what variety is there in the many, very complex patterns dyed in exquisitely clear, blue indigo.The color is beautiful: the powdery, rich, sky-blue color is called asagi.  And the delicacy of the rendering of the many patterns shown is poetic.Each of the patterns is based on a design concept wherein a patterned motif is seen through a mist of vertical bars; this “screening” of the motif adds air and light to the design.This han juban, or half-under kimono, is cotton and was made in the mid nineteenth century, during the last years of the Edo Period (1603-1868).  The katazome dyeing seen on this example is masterful.Can you see bats flying in the image above?  Swallows, or tsubame, are seen below, among other traditional motives.Peonies and geese are seen below.Within the swirling arabesques, below,  is the mokume or woodgrain pattern.These patterns are cooling to the eye.  The reason for so many patterns is that this han juban was sewn from a dyer’s sampler, a length of cloth from which special orders would be taken.The lyricism of these patterns is not quite cloying; the designer was too smart for something saccharine, and delivered images that are ethereal and structured at the same time.

I could admire this piece for hours.  It’s peaceful,  inventive and beautiful.   And its age adds something mysterious to its beauty.

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