A Length of Very Slubby Zanshi-ori: Knotted Leftover Yarns
ca. early to mid twentieth century
49" x 12 1/2", 124.5 cm x 31.5 cm
Zanshi-ori is cloth that is woven from threads either leftover from home production of yarn making, or from broken threads that were purchased from local commercial weavers. Usually the weft is fed with these random threads while generally the warp is regulated producing an irregular horizontal 'striping'; if home threads are used, knotted slubs can often be seen.
In this case the warp yarns are all of indigo dyed cotton which accounts for the subtle coloration of the cloth. The weft yarns are of different colors and tones, whose original colors, when seen through the indigo warp yarns, are greatly subdued.
The really marvelous thing about this beautiful length of cloth is its very slubby texture on front and back: since knotted, leftover weft yarns are used to weave this cloth, the knots are still very visible on both sides of the cloth.
Subtle and gorgeous, this length of cloth is a strong reminder of the frugality and ingenuity of women in old Japan.