A Sakiori Sodenashi: Colored Ragweave Weft Yarns
mid twentieth century
23" x 13 1/2", 58.5 cm x 34 cm
This beautifully colored, hand woven garment is fashioned from a rag weft--the technique of rag weaving in Japan being referred to as sakiori. Sakiori is a compound word derived from the verbs to tear and to weave, which makes sense since the rag yarn used to weave this garment was strategically torn in narrow strips from recycled cottons.
This vest is sometimes called sodenashi, which means a garment without sleeves--and as can be seen, it is thickly woven with rag yarn in a beautiful, spectrum of restrained colors: colored rags, most likely commercially produced cottons, were used to feed the weft. The cotton warp yarns are black in color which is one reason the color of the weft yarns is restrained.
The color and the edging are hand stitched using a commercially produced black color cotton and the tabs on each of the sides which hold the front to the back are of recycled kasuri cotton. There are small areas of abrasion and loss to this vest which can be seen in the accompanying detail photos, but overall the condition is good and used.
Vests like this were good padding when carrying burden or loads, and they also provided a freedom of movement for the arms. You can see by the tabs connecting the front to back areas that this was a garment that was supposed to allow movement of the body.
This is a very good looking sakiori sodenashi and certainly its a clear reminder of daily life in old Japan.