A Layered, Sashiko Stitched Kotatsugake: Hanten Panels

$425.00 USD

early to mid twentieth century
49 3/4" x 50 1/2", 126.5 cm x 128 cm 

In old Japan, a square-shaped table heated by a brazier underneath it (a kotatsu), was used to warm interior spaces.

Heavy cloth was piled on the table top of the kotatsu to trap heat, and family members would sit around the table, their legs tucked under the cloth which was draped over the kotatsu.  

These heat-catching cloths are called kotatsugake.

This is a kotatsugake--and as can be easily observed it is a sashiko stitched one.  A "coiled" pattern of white sashiko stitches cover the entire piece, with the parallel rows of sashiko stitching following the outlines of the square kotatsugake, creating a kind of geometric "nautilus shell" effect. Very unusual.

The kotatsugake has been made from recycled cotton kimono cloth in the center panel while the outer panels on both sides were recycled from resist dyed, indigo cotton jackets known as happi or hanten.

As such, when you look carefully, you will see areas of fading mending and patching that have been applied in order to stabilize the flat pieces of ex-kimono cotton as it is configured into this layered, sashiko stitched cloth. 

The kotatsugake shows wear from age and use but it is in good, very usable condition and it is still quite durable. It could certainly be used as an area rug or throw.

Its character and visual appeal do not need any explanation nor does the charm and allure of its unusual sashiko stitching.


A Layered, Sashiko Stitched Kotatsugake: Hanten Panels