A Large, Layered, Mid-Century Boro Kotatsugake: Cottons
mid twentieth century
56" x 60", 142 cm x 152.5 cm
This exuberantly and freely pieced cotton textile is large, thick with about three layers of cotton, and is stitched from a combination of hand woven and power loomed cottons.
It is a handsome example of Japanese traditional re-purposing of existing material, and, as this piece dates to around the mid-20th century, it is interesting to note that re-purposing of cloth was a practice that continued until fairly recently.
The large, layered cloth was used as a cover for a kotatsu, a traditional, heated table that would be covered in blankets under which members of a family would gather to share warmth. Electric kotatsugake, or kotatsu covers, are still used to this day in many Japanese homes.
This kotatsugake is hand stitched from many different types of scrap cottons, the pieces are applied in a rather hodge podge fashion, with plaids of different sizes, scales and color palettes clashing in the most beautiful possible way.
The condition of this kotatsugake is good; it shows wear and some light fading which is not surprising, as well as some small tears and some surface abrasion, not unusual for a utilitarian cloth that was hand made from recycled cottons. A really lovely thing.
A beautiful cloth from old Japan: recommended.