A Densely Sashiko Stitched Shonai Sodenashi: Work Vest from Yamagata
mid twentieth century
27" x 18 1/2", 68.5 cm x 47 cm
This is a beautifully crafted sodenashi or sleeveless garment which has been completely sashiko stitched: the texture which you see on the indigo dyed cotton parts is a field of minuscule sashiko stitches.
This type of work garment is of a type made in the Shonai region of Yamagata prefecture, which is located in what is referred to as Tohoku, a northeast region known to be rural. It is sometimes referred to as "the real Japan" because of it still retains some flavor of the past.
The sodenashi is stitched in diagonal rows with the stitches filling the rows meeting in opposing directions, creating a soft, textured effect.
The amount of work that went into stitching this layered cotton garment is mind-boggling and the expertly done hand work is equally impressive.
The shoulder and collar areas are covered with a brightly woven kasuri cotton: this was done to protect these areas from wear as whomever wore this vest, or intended to wear it, would no doubt be carrying burden or some kind which would abrade these areas of the sleeveless jacket.
In lightly worn condition with deeply dyed indigo cotton, this is a very collectible, authentic work jacket from old Japan.