(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 kimonoboy.com, and 1stdibs.

12 Comments