A Well-Used Vintage Korean Pojagi: Hemp or Ramie
mid twentieth century
29" x 30", 73.5 cm x 76 cm
This ragged, translucent beauty is a piece constructed, traditional Korean wrapping/ covering cloth or pojagi, in this case, one referred to as chogak po.
It is meticulously stitched together from small, leftover pieces of hand woven hemp or ramie, the pieces likely from clothing or other textiles hand made in the home. Because they are composed of handed-down fabric pieces, pojagi can be thought to hold sentimental family value in the way that quilts do, if they are made from discarded family clothing. In the case of this stunning, rough-hewn beauty, there is evidence that this piece is both hand stitched and machine stitched.
This chogak po is well used and shows some ingrained stains, each of which is pictured individually on the attached detail photographs, so please pore over all of them to get a sense of its condition. Because it was used in the home, the textile is well-worn and feels that way in the hand; the surface has been abraded although not terribly, and the overall condition of the piece shows that it was handled quite a lot during its lifetime.
It is easy to draw analogies between these type of pojagi and Modernist painting, which is probably why we love this type of traditional Korean textile art as much as we do. They are forever fascinating to look at, and there is something sublime in their casual yet profound beauty.