A Thickly Layered, Sashiko Stitched Mat: Indigo Dyed Cotton
early twentieth century
44" x 31", 111.75 cm x 78.75 cm
This is an absolutely beautiful, subtly colored and hand stitched sleeping or sitting mat which is piece constructed from layers of old, hand loomed indigo dyed cottons. The surface shows a texture due to the mat having been sashiko stitched together with thick, indigo dyed cotton thread, a standard method of home manufacture of thick, utilitarian textiles.
What is considered here the "front" side is the side with the very tonal, low contrast, gradient blue: just a gorgeous configuration of home spun cloth, an unintended artwork that is made interesting by the close tonal range of the blues and the light fading to the pieces before they were stitched together.
The proper "back" side is less visually arresting in terms of its tonal arrangement since it is all of narrow striped cotton (two different kinds), probably recycled from kimono. The two striped patterns as put together is very clever, and quite lovely--very sophisticated.
This is an everyday textile from old Japan that is exceptionally beautiful and would be wonderful if placed in an established collection of boro.