A Patched Shinafu Tsunobukuro: Linden Yarn Horn Bag
ca. late nineteenth, early twentieth century
46" x 15", 117 cm x 38 cm
This is a tsunobukuro, or horn bag, so called because of its construction: this bag is one length of cloth sewn on the bias, the result being the two "horns" which show at the top of the bag.
Look at the wiry and copper colored bast fiber yarns used to weave this bag: this is shinafu or cloth woven from fiber obtained from the inner bark of the linden tree, a very traditional type of Japanese textile which is characterized by this coppery color and by its very scratchy texture. Shinafu is a harsh and durable fabric, used mainly to fashion household items and rarely used for garments. It is just too abrasive to wear.
Shinafu is a somewhat rare and a very treasured rural textile, and this is a wonderful example of its kind.
This long bag is gorgeous for its color and its form. And for its really good condition: with the exception of a bit of loss to one of the horns and some mending to its body, this is a really good looking tsunobukuro in really good shape, with virtually no stains or abrasions.
Applied to the body are six, small, indigo dyed cotton patches, each about the size of a postage stamp.
For the serious collector of Japanese bast fibers of old, rural cloth, this bag is a welcome addition to your collection.