A Resist Dyed Horse Trapping: Wonderful Hand Spun Cotton
ca. late nineteenth century
108" x 13", 274.5 cm x 33 cm
This is an exceptionally lovely length of indigo dyed cotton which was used as a dressy horse trapping for a festival, most likely as a lead for the horse.
The cotton threads being home spun are rich in thread taste, or ito aji, and these hand spun yarns are a gorgeous foundation for hand woven cotton cloth as this length is.
What is difficult to depict in photographs is the beautifully warm tone of indigo (sometimes uneven or mottled) dye that is used to decorate this festival cloth.
Note the white designs on the cloth, which are basically wide horizontal and vertical bands--and two kanji or Chinese characters. These designs are achieved by using the katazome method where stencils and rice paste to resist dye, thereby producing "blank" areas of pattern or decoration.
There are some very contained and few ingrained stains, narrow but clear, to the white areas of the cloth.
To hold this wonderful length of cloth and to feel the richness of the hand spun cottons sparks the imagination and conjures images of old Japan.