A Mid-Twentieth Century Shimacho: Stripe Album
mid twentieth century
6" x 8 3/4" x 3/4", 15 cm x 22.25 cm x 2 cm
In old Japan, women would create albums filled with samples of their handwoven cotton cloth. These shimacho, or stripe albums, as they are called were meant to be a record of a family's weaving and were intended to act as a reference for future generations. It is said that a young bride would carry a family shimacho with her when she went to live with her husband and his family, which is probably true, but may also romanticize the truth a bit.
This shimacho seems to have been put together sometime in the mid-twentieth century out of fairly old scraps that date from the Meiji era (1868-1912) onward. The pieces are pasted onto the 17 pages into a commercially produced book: look at the accompanying detail photos to see that some pages are printed with large images over which these swatches are pasted.
A very good looking book with a great many swatches of old cloth.