A Boro Kaya Two Panel Fragment: Woven Hemp Mosquito Netting
early twentieth century
68" x 23", 172.5 cm x 58.5 cm
This frayed and battered boro beauty is hand stitched from two lengths of hand woven, open-weave hemp cloth, a kind of mesh. This type of woven bast fiber is kaya, or mosquito netting, and this two panel piece was taken from a large tent which would have been draped around a futon for protection against mosquitoes during Japan's famously hot, humid and buggy summers.
The hemp cloth is woven from wiry, hand plied yarns. This two panel piece, as can easily be seen, is threadbare in areas and these weak spots have given way to holes.
Three indigo dyed cotton patches are used to mend the piece: two on one side, one on the other. On the center, top of the piece is a hand stitched tab, which was probably used to hang this piece when it was a full tent.
This is a soulful boro textile, one with a good dash of the spirit of old Japan, and one that can be admired from both sides, as each are equally attractive.