An Obi Shin Fragment: Layered Collaged Cottons
late nineteenth, early twentieth century
59" x 11", 150 cm x 28 cm
An obi shin is a length of (usually) recycled, old cloth pieces which are joined together and used to stiffen or give form to an obi. Usually an obi shin is quickly assembled from scraps of old cloth, with not much attention to its aesthetic or its appearance: this length of cloth will never, ever be seen by the owner of the obi.
Sometimes small treasures are unearthed when finding old obi shin, which is the case with this one.
Seen here on this fragment is a very nice, long piece of beautifully designed and executed jishiro katazome--or blue-on-white katazome. The pattern is a traditional Buddhist one borrowed from the Chinese called shippo tsunagi or interlocking circles. Attached to the bottom of this shippo tsunagi length is a beautifully complex katazome fragment showing elaborately decorated octagons and squares. Really delightful.
The back layer of this two layer length is composed of blocks of simple fabric, a great contrast to the figured cloth of the front. White sashiko stitching holds the two layers together.
A really wonderful length of boro cloth, and one which was certainly never intended to be seen or admired.