A Length of Intricately Figured Omi Jofu: Patched
ca. late nineteenth century
50 1/2" x 13 1/2", 128 cm x 34 cm
This boro length of extremely finely woven hemp or ramie cloth is pure elegance. Most likely this is Omi joufu, a refined hemp or ramie weaving from the area of Japan which is present-day Shiga Prefecture.
The cloth is very fine and sheer, and the hair-like yarns used to weave it are hand plied.
This length shows an intricate and beautiful pattern which is the result of two processes: one is a stenciled paste resist (the blue and white pattern) while the other is the direct application of pigment or dye directly onto the surface using a stencil.
The resist dyed design ins that of vertical lines and matsukawabishi or stylized pine bark. The faded black, directly stenciled motifs are roundels and cherry blossoms.
Note the central patch which is hand applied to the center of the piece. On this patch you can see what the base cloth looked like when it was brand new: this patch has not seen the light of day and its indigo color is as vivid as the day it was dyed. Note as well the kanji inscription on this patch, which no doubt indicates that this patch was taken from the end of the bolt.
Some horizontal bands of discoloration along the folds of the piece, as well as a few, small holes.
Delicate, beautiful-- and old.Recommended.