A Long Pieced Boro Cloth: Sizing Covered and Glued Patches
ca. mid twentieth century
147" x 12 3/4", 373 cm x 32.5 cm
This is an unusual and mysterious boro cloth--and it is also beautiful in its color, patterns and patina.
It is unusual because the entire surface seems to be coated with some kind of sizing or starch which can be seen as a cloudy or milky coating to the surface of the cottons, with some of this milky surface treatment appearing as drips. Take note, too, that the patched areas on this length are not stitched, they are glued. Quite interesting.
The mysterious part is in pondering what its original use was. At first it appeared to be an obi shin or a length of cloth that stiffens the inside of an obi. It could well be this, however there was a light film of cotton batting fuzz that could be found on the surface (since removed) which makes one think this was not used in an obi. Who knows?
There are eight separate pieces of cloth that are machine stitched together to compose this long length of cottons. As can be seen, the cottons vary from hand woven kasuri and katazome pieces to more commercially loomed printed cottons. There are ample stains, as well, noted on the accompanying photos.
This is a fascinating and lovely old boro cloth, notable for the strange features noted above, but also for its lovely, low-key coloration and for the variety of old cottons used to make this piece.