A Braided and Woven Back Pad: Seate or Bandori
ca. mid twentieth century
45" x 16", 114 cm x 40.5 cm
The densely woven and beautifully formed object is a back pad which was used by people in old Japan when carrying burden. It is referred to as bandori or seate.
Even though this rustic object weighs more than may be obvious by looking at the accompanying photos, and therefore it added to the weight of burden being carried, it served an important purpose by protecting the body from the cuts and abrasions that would have been received from a heavy load if the body were not protected.
Woven and braided, it seems that this bandori or seate was hand made from some kind of asa or bast fiber, most likely it is linden or shina.
Look carefully at the accompanying photos: the expert way that this was woven makes it clear that the maker has made many in their lifetime. This kind of utilitarian object was in constant demand and was extremely important to the Japanese peasant, who was quite conversant in the weaving of raw fibers such as bast or rice straw. Baskets, sandals and rope, to name a few, were some of the everyday items that were hand made on a constant basis in the home by people in old Japan. Twining and forming fiber into usable shapes was common and necessary.
A lovely, intact back pad with good color and nice patina.