An Obi Shin or Obi Interior: Tenugui Piece
ca. early to mid twentieth century
124" x 12 1/2", 315 cm x 31.5 cm
An obi shin is used to stiffen an obi. Usually it is quickly assembled from scraps of old cloth, with not much attention to its aesthetic appearance because this length of cloth will never, ever be seen by the owner of the obi.
This one, however, has come to light, and as described it was quickly stitched together and shows an interesting trait.
Aside from the mottled-color cotton fragments which are hastily stitched together to make this obi shin, there is one surprise which is the recycled tenugui which is the indigo dyed patterned cloth highlighted in the accompanying photographs.
Tenugui were used by everyone in old Japan and their uses are too various to mention here. However, if you ever see images of Japanese farmers or fisherman in times past, they almost always are covering their head with a tenugui. Today, you will see sushi chefs wearing them on their heads as sweat bands (for lack of a better word).
This obi shin shows an overall grey color: perhaps it was over dyed. The cottons are used and old, and you will notice some of them are mottled in color, from age.
A curious old boro fabric, and one that had a secret life.