A Tattered Obi Shin: Tenugui, Katazome, Shibori
early to mid twentieth century
120" x 13", 305 cm x 33 cm
An obi shin is a textile which is used to stiffen or give form to an obi. Usually it is quickly assembled from scraps of old cloth, with not much attention to its aesthetic appearance because this length of cloth will never, ever be seen by the owner of the obi.
This one, however, has come to light, and as described above, it was quickly stitched together and shows wonderful fragments of cloth.
It is loosely hand stitched of five well-used, very faded and worn cotton fragments, including two fantastic and complex shibori pieces, which are hastily stitched together.
Also included are two recycled tenugui: tenugui were used by everyone in old Japan and their uses are too various to mention here. However, if you ever see images of Japanese farmers or fisherman in times past, they almost always are covering their head with a tenugui. Today, you will see sushi chefs wearing them on their heads as sweat bands (for lack of a better word).
This obi shin shows an overall grey color: the brownish shadows seen on the photos here are shadows and are not stains. The cottons are used and old, and you will notice some of them are mottled in color and are stained from age.
A curious old boro fabric, and one that had a secret life.