A Pair of Boro Tabi: Inside-Out
ca. mid twentieth century
each tabi: 4 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 4", 12 cm x 21.5 cm x 10 cm
This is a pair of indigo dyed cotton tabi that are seen inside-out, so what we see here is the white cotton lining, the dark cotton patches and some wonderful sashiko stitching used for reinforcement and repair.
Tabi are the traditional, split-toe footwear worn in Japan; in the countryside a pair of hand twined rice straw sandals would have been over these tabi, and the tabi themselves could have been worn indoors.
One of the two of this pair is made of a slightly textured cotton, while the other one is plain. Each of the soles is well mended and reinforced with stitching, as can be seen in the accompanying photographs.
A wonderful piece of old Japan, and one with a great deal of character that provides insight into the daily life of someone living in another era.