A Boro 19th Century Nobori Bata Fragment: Hand Painted Samurai
late nineteenth century
39 1/2" x 33", 100.5 cm x 84 cm
This is a beautiful and unusual boro textile: it is a fragment taken from a nobori bata or a vertically-oriented flag that was flown outside the home on Boys Day, a national day of celebrating male children in old Japan.
This piece of cotton is hand spun, hand woven and hand painted. It is also unusually wide as most Japanese cloth is woven in width increments of 13"/ 33 cm or so. Still, the quality of this cloth tells us that it is quite old and was completely made by hand. The cotton mending patches are beautifully placed.
The drawing of the samurai on the banner is fluid, straightforward and complex. Samurai were often depicted on nobori bata as they exemplify the masculine spirit and talk to ideals of masculinity that were wished to be conferred upon the boys being celebrated on Boys Day.
A very unusual and wonderful boro fragment.