A Very Long Boro Obi Shin: Colored Cottons
mid twentieth century
102" x 11", 259 cm x 28 cm
This very long, boro cloth is an obi shin, which is a narrow textile used as an interior layer of an obi: it is placed inside the obi to give it body, to stiffen it, and to help it keep its form. As such, obi shin were never meant to be seen--ever--so when we are able to view them as we are in this case, the visual surprises are most certainly the work of necessity and happenstance, not of planning.
The cloth is narrow and does not have its original selvedges.
The base cloth is a finely woven cotton that is somewhat fragile and shows a hole or two which we can see very clearly on one of the accompanying detail photos. The cotton patches that are applied to the surface are many, some of them are commercially produced.
The play of color, pattern and patching on this very long piece of cotton boro is really rich and beautiful, as is the variety of cotton cloth that is used for mending.
A visually exciting boro cloth, to be sure.