A Large Mended Steamer Cloth: Bast Fiber Mesh

$175.00 USD

mid twentieth century
68" x 34 1/2", 173 cm x 87.5 cm

This large cloth is hand woven from wiry, flat, hemp (or some kind of bast) yarns, the weaving being loose so as to create a screen or a mesh. 

This cloth was used in steaming, and laxly woven bast fiber cloth was--and still is--used in Japan for steaming anything that needs to be steamed, from use in food preparation to any other kind of small scale manufacture that utilizes steaming in its production.

The softly darkened central, rounded rectangular shape is the result of this cloth sitting directly on top of a steaming vessel, and of course this subtle, rounded and gently toned darkened image which is in contrast to a paler ground does call to mind the spirit of the work of Mark Rothko or the lawon cloth of Sumatra.

In any case, this coloration is beautiful happenstance and a lovely play of neutrals--and for being a utilitarian cloth with no drive toward beauty, this is quite an elegant end to a cloth used for steaming.

Please note the four islands of white cotton mending stitches floating in the center of the textile--as well there are some faint, white fibers clinging to the surface of the mesh cloth and this is pictured in the close up photos attached here.

A Large Mended Steamer Cloth: Bast Fiber Mesh