A Child's Intensely Piece Constructed Vest: Some Very Old Silk Scraps

$495.00 USD

late nineteenth, early twentieth century
26" x 17 1/2", 66 cm x 44.5 cm

This is a wildly colorful, exuberantly pieced child's vest which shows wear.

It is made primarily from scraps of recycled silk--some of them dating to approximately the mid-19th century--and a rich, red "mousseline" or light weight wool. The red pieces of this wool cloth are almost all damaged by moths, as can be seen in the accompanying detail photos.

The piecing of the small scraps of cloth here is intense: there are some passages where tiny pieces are compressed against one another in a way that almost seems impossible. The riot of color--the sheer delight in using bright, clashing colors--seems to have given the maker of this small vest a great deal of joy.

The tabs at either side of the vest are fragile and are of silk--they also show a semamori or amuletic stitch which is meant to protect the wearer from harm, and in this case the semamori are in the shape of fallen pine needles. Just charming.

In the past, pieced garments of this sort were made all over Japan. They were worn by adults as under garments and by children as special, "fancy" clothing. This kind of piece work is traditional.

This is a wonderful opportunity to own a stunning little treasure which is not only beautiful in its composite form, but also on the micro level--as mentioned above, some of the pieces stitched together here are very old and are taken from luxurious old textiles. Discovering these on your own can be a good deal of fun.


A Child's Intensely Piece Constructed Vest: Some Very Old Silk Scraps