A Page from a Semamori Cho: Blanks Waiting to be Stitched

$75.00 USD

early to mid twentieth century
7 1/2" x 11 1/4", 19 cm x 28.5 cm

In Japan, there is a certain magic associated with stitching: the very act of enclosing a body in cloth is rich in meaning and stitching a garment closed has power in it.

It is no wonder that stitches applied to children’s garments are done so intentionally, and that they are meant to protect the child from harm.

These protective stitches are called semamori, and offered here today is a page from a semamori cho, or a practice album of decorative stitches that, when stitched on a child’s garment--in the case of these they probably would have been used to attach the two ties to the front of a kimono--would have been held in place one of the kimono’s two ties.

On this leaf there are three different semamori which are hand stitched on to a piece of card stock.  These three stitched amulets show a bit of the variety of designs that were used as semamori in old Japan.

And what we have wonderfully preserved on this card are four incomplete semamori. One is partially stitched and the others are just guide holes or blanks. In this unfinished state we can see the process used in teaching girls to stitch these complex talismanic designs.

Objects such as this are becoming increasingly difficult to find now in Japan and this particular page of semamori designs is a small treasure.

Please note some wrinkling to the paper.

A Page from a Semamori Cho: Blanks Waiting to be Stitched