A Large Six Paneled Boro Furoshiki: Recycled Happi or Hanten
ca. early to mid twentieth century
72" x 71", 182.5 cm x 180.25 cm
This is a wonderful--and wonderfully large--folk textile.
It appears to be a very large furoshiki, a traditional wrapping cloth, which is constructed from six panels of heavy, indigo dyed cotton, which are taken from resist dyed happi coats or hanten. The evenly spaced solid indigo panels are piece constructed, and more than likely were the sleeve portions that accompanied the resist dyed panels that compose the rest of the piece, so you can say that this furoshiki represents two, full happi.
It is plain to see the patches that were applied to reinforce the pieced, neck portion of the garment, and all the stitching and patching is hand done. Please note a lovely design detail on the resist dyed ornamentation of the happi pieces: a kanji, or Chinese character, is set within a frame made to look like symmetrically placed pairs of pine needles. Just lovely.
The indigo dyed cotton is of a good, heavy weight, and this piece is quite stunning for its size, its condition, and its boldly graphic appeal.