A Hemp Kasuri Komebukuro: Piece-Constructed
ca. late nineteenth century
6" x 6" x 6", 15 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm
*please note that the actual color of this bag is a clear white against a blue ground
This is a really charming, old drawstring bag that is sewn from three pieces of indigo dyed kasuri or ikat hemp cloth, probably from Omi, a leading center of high quality hemp or ramie kasuri cloth in old Japan.
The bag is fully lined in old, hand loomed, undyed cotton, and the loops which hold the purple dyed cotton drawstring are all intact; the drawstring seems original to the bag.
The motives woven into the body of the bag seem to be variants of the well cover, plum and cherry blossoms, and a marvelous bird sitting on amid plum blossoms, maybe a sparrow.
This is a wonderful old bag, which was probably used as a komebukuro. A komebukuro is a bag used to carry token offerings of dried rice or beans to a temple or shrine festival, and usually these offering bags were festive in nature, and were often sewn from contrasting fragments of cotton or hemp cloth.