Sunday, December 19, 2010

Japanese Boro Textiles

(Above) 19th c. Japanese cotton futon cover called “Boro” made from recycled indigo dyed cloth in patches joined together. Click image for larger view.

(Above) 19th c. Japanese Boro. Click image for larger view.

(Above) Detail of above. Click image for larger view.

(Above) 19th century Boro textile. Click for larger view.

(Above) Detail. Click for larger view.

(Above) 19th century Boro textile. Click for larger view.

(Above) Detail. Click for larger view.

(Above) Boro Cotton Kimono, Yamagata Prefecture (Northern Japan) c. 1900

I OWN A SINGLE JAPANESE BORO. IT REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OBJECTS IN MY COLLECTION. Boro textiles were made in the late 19th and early 20th century by impoverished Japanese people from reused and recycled indigo-dyed, cotton rags. What we see in these examples are typical—patched and sewn, piece-by-piece, and handed down from generation-to-generation, where the tradition continued. These textiles are generational storybooks, lovingly repaired and patched with what fabric was available. Never intended to be viewed as a thing of beauty, these textiles today take on qualities of collage, objects of history, and objects with life and soul.

Objects found at, and 1stdibs.


LIRIO said...

these are incredibly beautiful
the loveliness of the stitches and the indigo fabrics
they put me in mind of the over patched jeans of the 70's

thank you so much for posting these

Maureen said...

They're beautiful, and look so modern. That kimono is amazing.

Albert said...

I love these. I think they are very structural and controlled. It's funny to compare them to African American quilts from the South and see the color and pattern difference. Lovely!!!

John Foster said...

Hi Lirio—
Glad you stopped by. Yep, like patched and worn jeans from the 60s and 70s— there's an authenticity to these objects that make them almost fetish-like. They are beyond wonderful....

Anonymous said...

I remember my last visit to my landlords apartment before he died last summer, he was wearing something very similar. I remember noticing how stitched and patched it was. There are some, but not many, people in Japan who still value textiles.

Sadly though, modern Japan is the most "throw away" society I have ever seen. I still cringe at the memory of my friend who suddenly remembered her family had a samurai warrior armor in their attic and called her mom to check. Mother's reply: "Oh that old stuff? I threw it out a couple years ago". Probably 10 000$ worth of antiques.

Jane Waggoner Deschner said...

Reminds me of an old, oft-viewed snapshot or photo album where the paper has become soft from handling.

male said...

Xmas greetings from downunder,
see Yohji Yamamoto's Boro (use)

Thombeau said...

I absolutely love this.

tamara kane said...

Very beautiful indeed. I recently began using Boro techniques in my own sewing.

Olga Cabello said...

Very interesting.


)eannie )oseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
)eannie )oseph said...

So beautiful, so very wabi sabi.

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