An Antique Cotton Boro Yogi: Hand Spun Cotton
ca. late nineteenth, early twentieth century
49" x 50", 124.5 cm x 127 cm
A yogi is a kimono-shaped duvet which was used to keep warm while sleeping during the winter months. It has the same basic shape as a kimono, but it is generally oversized, is lined, and is stuffed with cotton wadding when available.
This is the exterior of the yogi; the fill and the lining are missing, but what is presented here is just beautiful. It is a patched and mended boro yogi which is hand stitched entirely of hand spun, hand loomed, indigo dyed cotton, the pattern being a common one for bedding in the 19th century, wide, subtly-colored stripes.
The cotton is rich in ito aji, or what the Japanese refer to as "thread flavor." This is an important aspect when considering antique Japanese folk textiles.
The proper "inside" of the yogi is being highlighted here, as it is on this side that we see the rich patching and mending which lend this boro garment its ragged beauty. The front, back, sleeves and collar area all are studded with a good number of old, hand stitched patches, some overlapping, and many in visual contrast to the striped base cloth.
A really wonderful, old yogi, and one that, if done right, could be retrofitted and worn as a coat, or, maybe better, could be hung and admired as art.