trademark

Home


Info and Pictures

















Japanese Country Textiles

Old Indigo Antique Cotton textiles

The beauty of Japanese country textiles are in their simplicity and order. Unlike the ostentatious antiques you find in Western countries, Japanese culture values quiet understatement and modesty. This value still holds true and is reflected in these wonderful antique country textiles and ceramics.

Over the past decade of living in Japan, we have focused our attention on cotton country textiles (MINGEI) and blue and white porcelain (SOMETSUKE) because these areas capture the heart of the Japanese simplistic lifestyle and understated beauty of Japanese folk art.

The vintage and antique cotton INDIGO, SHIBORI, TSUTSUGAKI, KASURI, and SAKIORI are our personal favorites. Today in Japan there are just a handful of places where real Indigo vats are used for dyeing Indigo. This blue dye is said to ward off insects during the hot humid summer months and when working out in the fields. The local fruit stand near us still uses an Indigo cloth to wrap their vegetables during the hot days. There is a wonderful smell and feel to a stiff and strong dark durable blue cotton INDIGO fabric that cannot be reproduced anywhere else. When used in the home, these varying shades of blue, white and brown reflect a natural softness and can add an easy-going sophistication to any room decor. The feeling of putting these blue and white colors in your home gives you a greater connection to nature like the INDIGO NOREN flapping in the wind in the open doorway of a local shop. There are many shades of INDIGO blue but a true connoisseur of antique cloth will look for a bit of white between the blue threads as this indicates that it is natural and old. Thick cotton is always preferable to thin and should be hand woven. You can usually tell hand woven cotton as it is not nearly as tightly woven as a machine and each thread is distinct.

Ragweave is a wonderful country textile and shows how resourceful the poor country person truly was. The skillfulness of craft practiced over the years has made up for a lack of resources as each piece is a masterpiece and completely unique. A ragweave OBI, FUTON or rug, for example, is made by tearing apart old unwanted fabrics into strips, twisting them and then weaving them into a new creation.

What we love most about the Japanese folk arts is that individuality and charm take precedence over a more expensive and "perfect" piece. Each carefully mended rip or tear truly reflect how deeply valued each cloth was cherished. This seems to give more feeling and energy to each piece.

These country textiles are becoming much scarcer and more expensive today, first, due to a recent boom in quilters and patch workers and, second, because much of the craftsmanship is just dying along with each artist.

Each of the items we offer on Onlineauction.com is something we would truly love having ourselves and this in effect takes away the "risk" with purchasing the more expensive pieces. We have developed a good relationship with several knowledgeable antique textile dealers whom we are constantly learning. The more we learn it seems the more we discover we do not know and, so this is the true reward for finding each item and offering them to our customers on Etsy.