A Mammoth Cotton Furoshiki: Sashiko Stitched Center
ca. early twentieth century
78" x 74", 198 cm x 188 cm
This is a very large workhorse-of-a-furoshiki or traditional wrapping cloth. It is huge--and it has clearly been used well and hard over the years.
It is made from indigo dyed cotton and the entire thing is hand stitched. Its salient feature, aside from the very large size, is the wonderful centerpiece of cotton that is stitched on the middle of the cloth.
This cotton insert, obviously, was used as reinforcement since this furoshiki was clearly used to carry and store items.
This central panel is stitched quite well, using thick black cotton in the shape of a square intersected by diagonals, and this utilitarian detail also doubles as a visual treat. Just wonderful. Do note that some of the black threads that stitch the reinforcing panel to the background have come undone, so this panel is not entirely stitched to the backing cloth. It is, however, still quite stable. There is a smallish hole or two to the indigo cotton base cloth, seen in the accompanying photos. There is some discoloration to this central cotton reinforcement.
This is a real find and a really lovely old textile that conveys a sense of daily life in old Japan.