A Pair of Botanically Dyed 19th Century Leg Protectors: Gorgeous Color
mid nineteenth century
each: 11 1/2" x 13 1/2", 29 cm x 34.25 cm
This pair of late Edo period kyahan, or led protectors, is a study in color: simply beautiful.
The face, a rich purple color, is glossy from the hand spun or tsumugi silk as well as from the natural dye used to color the cloth which is shikon or gromwell root. Just gorgeous color. The reverse of the leg protector is hand spun, hand woven cotton which is indigo dyed, the indigo yielding a rich, pure, blue, one that is reminiscent of cobalt. The banding and the ties are of chirimen or crepe silk dyed in benibana or safflower.
The combination of these three botanically dyed colors, in the proportions we see here, is simply beautiful. As can be seen, there are some patches of loss and abrasion to this pair, and on one of the kyahan the safflower dyed chirimen banding has come undone from one of the edges (easily mended if you so choose). Note, as well, the hand-stitched "button holes" which are edged in a blanket stitch of pollen yellow silk. These holes are not for buttons, as you can understand, but for threading and tightening the silk ties.
A gorgeous set of brilliantly colored, botanically dyed accessories from a well-to-do person in old Japan.