An Excellent Two Panel 19th Century Boro Textile: Hemp Stitching
late nineteenth century
47 1/4" x 24", 120 cm x 61 cm
This is the boro piece you should want to have in your collection: it is a superb example with good age.
What makes it good are many things, chief among them are the texture and color.
Every single piece of cloth on this boro panel is indigo dyed, hand spun and hand woven cotton, which is just beautiful to behold. The texture of hand spun, hand woven cotton is beautiful, and it is this ito aji or thread flavor that is the fundamental characteristic to look for in Japanese folk textiles. The many layers of gradient shades of indigo juxtaposed with one another is subtle and thrilling to see.
And there is more: most of the patching on this cloth is done with hemp thread, which is what you really want to see on an old boro cloth. In the days when cotton consumption was new to Japanese people there was not a great deal of cotton thread available, of course. So hemp thread was used to stitch up cotton garments and bedding. We look at hemp thread as an indicator of age, or it may mean the piece is deeply rural, in any case it is a good thing to see on an old boro cloth.
A stunning, simple folk textile.