A Marvelous Boro Jacket: Edo Komon Cotton
early to mid twentieth century
27" x 48", 68.5 cm x 122 cm
Aside from the visually beautiful attributes of this very good patched and mended boro jacket--its wonderful color palette, its beautiful patching, its good age--there is an essential one that may be missed if you do not look closely.
The base cloth of this garment is hand stitched from re-purposed pieces of Edo komon, a small figured cloth popular in the late Edo period (1603-1868).
During this time laws were enforced which regulated many aspects of life, dress included. Most people in Edo Japan had to dress in subtle colors and patterns; because of this, elaborate, very small patterned cloth became popular because one could still wear figured clothing while not breaking any of the sumptuary laws that were laid down.
Countless small figured designs were developed during this period and for this reason we know that the cloth which was used to create this garment dates to the 19th century.
The neutral colors on this jacket are beautiful, as is the stitching. The cinnamon colored collar is a lovely contrast to the stone-colored palette of the rest of the jacket, which is rich in patches, layers and hand stitching.
With good age and a wonderful artfulness about its construction, this is a very fine jacket and one to consider adding to your collection of boro cloth.