A Child's Sakiori Vest: Lavish Semamori Embellishment and Hemp Warp
mid twentieth century
25 1/2" x 16", 52 cm x 40.5 cm
Sakiori garments--clothing woven from shredded cloth--are very much associated with work garments worn by fisherman, lumberjacks, farmers and the like, so it is very unusual that a child's garment would be made of this thick, utilitarian cloth.
There is a lot that is wonderful about this little gem, aside from it being a highly unusual garment: very desirable for sakiori garments is an asa (hemp or ramie) warp, and this small vest is very definitely warped with asa: it is not hard to see that the hemp warp dominates the cotton weft which in and of itself is unusual
Against this warp are weft yarns of dark blue, blue/black and white cotton shreds.
All around the indigo dyed cotton collar, are many beautiful examples of 'magical stitches' or semamori. These designs were stitched with the intention to protect the child, therefore conferring a wish for health and sanity on the child who wears the garment.
These semamori stitches are lavishly presented on all sides of the collar: inside, outside, front and back, so the child is literally encircled by protective powers. Fantastic.
The garment shows no sign of use whatsoever.
A beautiful if somewhat esoteric piece, this is a marvelous addition to any collection of Japanese country textiles.