A Large, Square Kotatsugake: Hearth Cover of Recycled Cotton Kimono

$345.00 USD

early to mid twentieth century
61" x 62", 155 cm x 157.5 cm

In old Japan, a heated table or kotatsu, was used to warm interior spaces.  Heavy cloth was piled on the square table top to trap heat, and family members would sit around the table, their legs tucked under the cloth draped over the kotatsu.  These heat-catching cloths are called kotatsugake.

This one, although plain in appearance on first glance is actually more interesting if you look closely into it: ample detail photos have been posted for this purpose.

The kotatsugake has been made from recycled cotton kimono. As such, when you look carefully, you will see areas of mending and patching that have been applied in order to stabilize the flat pieces of ex-kimono cotton as it is configured into this square, two-layered large cloth.

Evident are shoulder areas where notches were made to the cloth. Also to be seen are small patches which would have been applied to the kimono when it was still being worn. There are some zones of darkened cloth that bear witness to the kimono as it was, especially when the zones show fading from the collar portion of the kimono.

What adds visual interest are the wide-spaced single lines of white sashiko stitching and the darkened block of cotton to the top, left corner of the "front" side.

This cloth is generous in size with subtle, narrow striped cotton in neutral grey tones. It speaks very quietly but eloquently on the culture of recycling that was an essential part of Japan's cultural history.