A Length of Very Old Katazome Cotton: Hand Spun Yarns
late nineteenth century
34 1/2" x 13", 87.5 cm x 33 cm
This beautifully faded and softly abraded length of indigo dyed katazome cotton shows a delicate repeat pattern and has good age.
As striking as is the the repeat pattern of cranes frolicking amid a fragile, floral arabesque are the cotton yarns used to weave this piece which are all hand spun. The fading and wear of the indigo really enhances our appreciation of these yarns as it draws out the ito aji or thread flavor which is woven into this piece of old katazome dyed cotton. Ito aji is a really important aspect in the appreciation of old Japanese textiles because in the case of cottons, we can see that the yarns are hand spun.
There is some softly faded orange color that was used to highlight the cranes in this design, but much of the orange color has washed away. Originally the highlights would have been a deep orange tone, the result of being dyed with iron oxide, but this red dye, bengara, washes out fairly easily.
A simply beautiful length of old cotton and one with a stunningly good pattern and yarns.