A Woven,Twined and Plaited Rain Cape: Mino
ca. mid twentieth century
46" x 22" x 6", 117 cm x 56.5 cm x 15 cm
This rustic and shaggy hand woven bast fiber garment is called a mino--it is a rain cape.
More than likely you have seen characters in old wood block prints wearing such a thing, or perhaps you have seen one on an actor in a Japanese film. This mino is a traditional "garment" which was worn as a rain coat.
This one, like most, is woven from what appears to be bast fibers and maybe some rice straw: the hairy fibers seem to be some kind of inner bark fiber, perhaps linden.
In any case, this heavy, thick, cape was strapped onto the back of the wearer, the effect would be similar to the protection a thatched roof provides a building.
In deeply rural Japan this kind of hand woven and plaited rain cape was worn well into the mid-twentieth century; self-sufficient country folk were adept at weaving back pads, rain capes, rustic work baskets, rope, sandals and the like out of local grasses, straw and tree bark.
This piece is in fairly good condition; please know that the fibers are a bit dry and tend to shed a bit during transportation and handling.
A beautiful piece with lovely dimension and texture, this is a strong reminder of life in the old Japanese countryside, where this kind of garment was commonplace and hand made in all homes.
Very interesting and beautiful.