Hemp Komebukuro - Antique Kasuri Patchwork of Squares and Octagon
This is a striking and wonderfully crafted antique hemp komebukuro, or festival rice bag. Komebukuro were traditionally used to carry offerings of beans or dried rice to temple and shrine festivals in old Japan.
This particular bag is made of several different examples of hemp cloth that have been skillfully arranged in a geometric patchwork of squares and octagon. Among the pieces are indigo dyed kasuri, most likely Omi Jofu, a very fine handwoven hemp or ramie cloth from Shiga Prefecture in Japan. The lighter brown or tan fabrics appear to be akaso kasuri. Akaso is no longer traditionally woven in Japan. The threads are derived from a native plant, and when woven reveal a beautiful, natural color ground. The solid hemp squares dyed in pink and pale blue set the indigo kasuri pieces off beautifully. Its possible that these fabrics were dyed using vegetal dyes.
It is clear that this bag was well cared for: the inside is lined with cotton, and the drawstring and loops are intact and appear to be original to the bag. There is wear and signs of use, particularly along the base which has stains. A few small holes can be found throughout but do not detract from an altogether fantastic example of komebukuro.
Dimensions: 8.7 in ( 22 cm) x 8.7 in ( 22 cm) x 8.3 in ( 21.0 cm)
Early 20th century