A Densely Sashiko Stitched Pair of Tabi: Unused Indigo Dyed Cotton
mid twentieth century
each: 4 3/4" x 10" x 4 1/2", 12 cm x 25.5 cm x 11.5 cm
Tabi are the traditional split-toe footwear of Japan that can be lightweight and worn as a sock or more heavyweight, as this pair is, which would be worn more like a shoe would be. Tabi of this sort were used to protect the foot and would often be worn with a hand-twined rice straw sandal.
But this pair was never worn as can be seen by its pristine condition which is amply illustrated on the accompanying detail photos. The tabi are in beautiful condition and are a beautiful object: the amount of dense, white, sashiko stitching is impressive and, more impressive is the expert manner in which the stitching was done. The stitching is done high on all sides of this pair as well as on the undyed soles, all of it would have been used for the purpose of reinforcement against future wear.
The indigo dyed cotton is inky dark which makes the white stitches shine against it: note that on the sides of the tabi the stitching direction changes from up/down to side to side.
A simply beautiful pair of sashiko stitched tabi in pristine condition.