An Unused Shonai Sodenashi: Rag Weave, Sashiko, Possibly Paper

$395.00 USD

early to mid twentieth century
hem to shoulder 29" x widest point 19"
hem to shoulder 73.5 cm x widest point 48 cm

This is a subtle beauty and a wonderful example of a sleeveless garment or sodenashi from the Shonai region of Yamagata. It is seemingly unused.

This vest is a typical one from the Shonai area and is characterized by the wonderful tightly woven sakiori or rag woven body.

The narrow white weft yarns indicate that paper yarn was used to weave the vest and this, too, is typical of Shonai and Yamagata where there is a fair amount of paper production. Because of the seeming paper weft the actual cloth is much lighter in weight that had it been woven entirely of cotton rag.

As can be seen the collar and shoulder areas are reinforced with applied, plain cotton. The side gussets are marvelously and intricately sashiko stitched in blue-on-blue: this detail adds richness to this garment and in this case the stitching is expertly done.

The overall color tone of this piece is hard to describe as it is a kind of very deep, neutral tone, kind of blue but kind not screamingly so. The color is a dark and subtle.

A simply marvelous traditional work vest from Japan's storied Tohoku region.

Very recommended.