A Handspun Cotton Boro Fragment: Benibana or Safflower Dye
ca. mid to late nineteenth century
12 1/2" x 26", 31.5 cm x 66 cm
This faded beauty is a fragment of hand spun, hand woven cotton that has been dyed in benibana or safflower, a dyestuff that yields a distinctive orange/pink/coral/red tone, depending on the intensity of the dye and the amount of sun fading.
The cotton cloth of this fragment is wonderful; the rich texture is due to the home spun cotton, which the Japanese say has ito aji or thread flavor. This is a compliment to the cloth.
Obviously cut from a larger piece, this faded and gradient cotton cloth shows a pale coral color on one side that changes to a more yellowed pale orange on the other. Benibana or safflower dye is very sensitive to light and it fades easily, as is the case here.
Note, of course, the lovely, simple patched repair.
A really lovely small piece of home spun Japanese cotton boro cloth.