A Beautifully Tattered Boro Noragi: Wonderful Old Cotton Scraps
late nineteenth century
28 1/2" x 23 1/2", 72.5 cm x 59.5 cm
This is a very beautiful, indigo dyed cotton boro noragi--a "tattered" work coat--and one with very good age and fantastic patching both inside and out.
It is very worn and battered as is very clear from the photos here and its sleeves are missing, which is fairly normal for work wear. Sleeves and collars of work garments were routinely taken off and put back on since they were modified over time.
But look at the patches on this noragi: many are taken from tenugui which are the charmingly dyed hand towels, ubiquitous in old Japan where they were multi-functional, with a major function being shaped into shaped, folded and tied head coverings which were worn when doing housework, tending the fields or working outside.
Along the collar of the jacket we see a long fragment of very good, thickly woven, hand dyed rustic shibori. Katazome fragments are also hand stitched to the body of the jacket.
It shows good age, which is the essential element in judging a good work coat, which this is, and it is this age which gives this noragi its special beauty.