A Four Panel, Katazome Dyed Boro Futon Cover
late nineteenth, early twentieth century
62" x 49", 157.5 cm x 124.5 cm
This richly patched, indigo dyed cotton boro textile is a panel from a futon cover, a futon cover being similar to what we call a duvet.
The hand loomed cotton is soft and lightweight: it is katazome or stencil resist dyed in a complex pattern of hexagons which are meant to represent tortoise shell or kikko, the tortoise being a symbol of longevity. Inside each of the hexagons is a diamond shape holding a flower, the flower, not surprisingly is called hanabishi or diamond flower.
The boro or patched and mended textile is four panels wide, each of which is stitched to form a large area, with some gaps in the stitching, a result of the futon cover being used over decades or generations.
The amount of patches and their unintentionally artful distribution over the surface of this cloth makes this futon cover especially desirable, as does its good age and condition.