A Very Large Cotton Kotatsugake: Tremendous Area of Fine Sashiko Stitching

$395.00 USD

mid twentieth century
75 1/2" x 73", 192 cm x 185.5 cm

In old Japan, a heated table or kotatsu, was used to warm interior spaces.  Heavy cloth was piled on the square table top to trap heat, and family members would sit around the table, their legs tucked under the cloth draped over the kotatsu.  These heat-catching cloths are called kotatsugake.

This rather large-sized one, although plain in appearance on first glance is actually more interesting if you look closely into it: ample detail photos have been posted for this purpose.

The kotatsugake has been made from recycled, commercially loomed cotton.

It is completely hand stitched together--and what is more if you look closely at all the detail photos here you will see the entire surface area was stitched in tiny, intricate sashiko stitching in a fairly small-scale design versus the large area of the kotatsugake.

The front of the kotatsugake is made of dark, neutral tones of cotton and if you look at one of the detail photos provided here you will notice abrasion to the exact center of the kotatsugake: this is the result of repetitive action to this area when it was being used as a table cover. 

The back seems to be made of cotton cloth that might have been intended for the casual summer kimono known as yukata. It is light in color and tone with pale blue designs on white commercially produced cotton.

This kotatsugake is generous in size and it speaks very quietly but eloquently on the culture of recycling that was an essential part of Japan's cultural history.