A Large Sashiko Stitched Kotatsugake: Resist Dyed Family Crest
ca. mid twentieth century
62" x 56", 157.5 cm x 142.25 cm
This is a large, almost-square, completely sashiko stitched textile which was probably used to cover a family hearth called a kotatsu. The kotatsu is a brazier-heated table over which blankets would be draped so the family could gather around the hearth, slip their legs under the draping, and enjoy a central heat source in the midst of an otherwise unheated home.
This kotatsugake is made from two layers of cotton and the entire surface is sashiko stitched in a loose, grid-like pattern. As can be amply seen in the accompanying detail photographs, many of the white sashiko threads are broken.
The face of the textile is mainly indigo dyed cotton, the field being dominated by a large, resist-dyed kanji which is encircled by a wide ring. The reverse of the cloth is a brightly colored, probably commercially produced plaid fabric in mustard-green, white and red colors. Looking closely at the surface of this cloth, you can see there are many charming patches and repairs, some of which are documented in the accompanying photographs.
This is a really lovely textile from old Japan, with a great deal of charm, wonderful hand stitching, and surprising design details.