A Quite Large Boro Temari: Hidden Boro
ca. mid to late nineteenth century
4 1/2", 11.5 cm, diameter
Temari, literally “hand ball,” are gifts made for children. Temari were originally made from left over yarn or string, both cotton and silk floss were used for the external decoration.
A ball was created from wound threads. Sometimes a written wish for the child was placed at the center of the ball, or other times some rice grains or a bell were the center of the ball, placed there to create a rattling or jingling noise, depending.
This oversized temari--imagine the size of a grapefruit--is made of leftover cotton yarns and is rich in color and pattern. It does not have any rice grains inside, so it does not make noises.
When sitting on a surface, it is not at all clear that this ball has received some damage as the area of loss can be put face-down on a surface. Most likely the damage is the result of fire, since the white, inner cotton yarns show some evidence of being burnt. The area of loss is about 3" x 2", 7.5 x 5 cm in size. Under the white, cotton inner yarns shows some of the core of the ball which seems to be cotton floss.
The outer, decorative cotton yarns are the colors of rust, pale indigo and deep green; there is all-over discoloration to the yarns, probably from exposure over the decades.
For all of its apparent deficits, this is a really wonderful, old temari--and one that hides its flaws very well.