A Pair of Extremely Stitched Ankle Guards: Thick Cotton
ca. early to mid twentieth century
3" x 13", 7.5 cm x 33 cm
Rural life in old Japan was a harsh existence for those who had to work the land and forage forests for food. lumber and other necessities for use in daily life.
Ankle guards were worn all across Japan to protect against abrasion from underbrush while working outside, and, like this pair shown here here, many were very heavily sashiko stitched to supply durability and to insure a longer life for these essential components of the rural costume.
This pair of ankle guards is stitched in very tight rows that cover almost the entire surface of the hand woven cotton fabric. This particular pair is either lightly used or was dyed and over dyed in indigo, resulting in the deep blue color. Dyeing and re dyeing in indigo was common practice as indigo strengthened the fibers of the cotton and obscured dirt and stains to the cloth. The tabs are sewn on by hand and there is a faint fading to the one piece.