A Hand Stitched Korean Pojagi: Dyed Hemp or Ramie
mid twentieth century
28" x 26", 71 cm x 66 cm
This beauty is a piece constructed, traditional Korean wrapping/ covering cloth or pojagi, in this case, one referred to as chogak po.
It is meticulously stitched together from small, leftover pieces of hand woven hemp or ramie--probably more than 200 in all--the pieces likely from clothing or other textiles hand made in the home. Because they are composed of handed-down fabric pieces, pojagi can be thought to hold sentimental family value in the way that quilts do, if they are made from discarded family clothing.
In the case of this wonderfully designed pojagi, the design attempts to be regulated: it is composed of rows of two elongated right-angle triangles which fit into each other to form a rectangle. This triangle-based rectangle repeats to create a field.
This chogak po was piece dyed and shows a dull, warm, steel-blue color. The four corner ties are hand stitched of lightweight silk.
It is easy to draw analogies between these type of pojagi and Modernist or contemporary painting, which is probably why we love this type of traditional Korean textile art as much as we do. They are forever fascinating to look at, and there is something sublime in their casual yet profound beauty.
This piece is in good, used condition, and the small stitches used to create this unassuming yet gorgeous textile are countless.