A Tattered Old Komebukuro: Pieced Cotton Drawstring Bag
late nineteenth century
as shown: 7" x 7" x 7", 18 cm x 18 cm x 18 cm
Komebukuro are bags that were used to carry token offerings of uncooked rice or beans to a temple or shrine festival, the piecing and patching often being thought-out and planned, for festive effect.
In this case we have a very tattered, well-used komebukuro and one that clearly shows good age.
The sleeve which holds the komebukuro's drawstring is broken so the owner of this bag attempted a fast restoration of it by adding stitches to hold the drawstring in place. This works to some extent, but when the string is drawn the bag will close, however it will not be drawn completely closed.
As well, the 15 or so pieces of old, hand woven cotton that are hand stitched together to compose the body of the bag are old and show a good deal of wear from age: the surface of the bag shows abrasion, ingrained dirt, some stains and evidence of heavy use.
The inside of the bag is also quite beautiful with its piecing of hand spun cotton fragments.
A rough bag from old Japan and one with a great deal of charm and grit.