A Length of Resist Dyed Festival Cloth: Hand Spun Cotton
ca. late nineteenth, early twentieth century
112" x 11 3/4", 284 cm x 30 cm
This length of indigo dyed and resisted cotton is really beautiful. Its wide, horizontal bands of white and blue were achieved using the stencil resist dyeing method called katazome, and as can be seen by looking at the accompanying detail photos, this process was done quickly as the resist dyeing is imperfect.
Aside from the surface beauty of this cloth, there is a subtler and more profound beauty, and this resides in the cotton yarns. The yarns are hand spun cotton, and this aspect of the cloth imbues it with what the Japanese call ito aji or thread flavor. Ito aji is very important when looking at old Japanese cloth, and this one is rich in it.
Because of the hand spun cotton yarns which were used to weave this piece, the cotton is very soft, pliable and clingy. It is beautiful.
As can be seen in the accompanying detail photographs, there are two small holes to the piece. As well, because this cloth was once folded twice along its length, there are ingrained creases.