A Woven Straw Back Pad: Black Cotton Details
ca. mid twentieth century
44" x 16", 111.5 cm x 40.5 cm
The gently woven and beautifully formed object is a back pad which was used by people in old Japan when carrying burden. It is referred to as bandori or seate.
Bandori or seate served an important purpose by protecting the body from the cuts and abrasions that would have been received from a heavy load if the body were not protected.
Beautifully woven and braided, it seems that this back pad was hand made primarily from rice straw; it is bordered with a fringe of commercially produced cotton pieces, some of which are missing.
Look carefully at the accompanying photos: the expert way that this was woven makes it clear that the maker has made many in their lifetime.
This kind of utilitarian object was in constant demand and was extremely important to the Japanese peasant, who was quite conversant in the weaving of raw fibers such as bast or rice straw. Baskets, sandals and rope, to name a few, were some of the everyday items that were hand made on a constant basis in the home by people in old Japan. Twining and forming fiber into usable shapes was common and necessary.
A lovely, back pad with good color and nice patina.