A Nice Long Piece of Narumi Kongata: One-Half a Han Juban
late nineteenth century
53" x 13 1/4", 134.5 cm x 33.5 cm
This is an absolutely beautiful, subtle and richly dyed length of indigo cloth which was dyed using a complex set of hand cut stencils in a method called Narumi kongata.
Narumi kongata is a type of stencil dyeing that very often mimics the art of shibori dyeing by using of many stencils layered one on top of the the other, .
The base cloth of the fragment of Narumi kongata is a medium-toned blue. Over this medium blue is a checkerboard pattern that shows two sizes of faux miura shibori; the very dark bar of cotton on the top, right of the piece was hidden over the decades this han juban was worn, so it has not faded as the rest of the panel has.
It is quite clear that this piece was taken from a han juban, which is a half-under kimono. We can tell this by the length of the piece, by the way it was finished on the two short ends, by the central notch and by the unfaded bar of deep indigo color that is quite prominent on the cloth. Also, Narumi kongata was often used for undergarments, so this is another clue which lets us know if the original use of this length of cloth.
A fabulous piece of old Narumi kongata of good size and in good condition, save the quite obvious color fading and the small hole near the central notch of the cloth.