boro futon cover, corduroy patch
This lovely boro futon cover offers the best of dilemmas - both sides offer beautifully muted colors and interesting patterns and textures. Which to choose?
The futon cover has multiple layers of fabric – stripes, plaids, prints and solids. One side was originally a blue and white plaid, to which patches of indigo and brown geometric cotton fabrics were added to mend the fabric. Along one edge there is a small piece of a green fabric with a faded crest, and a graphic blue and white printed cotton lays below a faded geometric. Blue and white cotton striped fabric peeks through a worn spot on a printed flower stripe in brown. You can see how much some of the fabrics have faded by looking at their reverse sides, or checking the seams. The ages of these fabrics range from late Meiji to early Showa, which is to be expected in a boro textile which has been pieced and mended over many years.
The reverse side of the futon cover has some pale green faded and worn fabrics as well as some woven stripe patches. The green fabrics may have originally been indigo which has oxidized and become green with age. The focal point is a purple corduroy patch, soft to the touch. The wale of the corduroy has worn away – perhaps lovingly rubbed by a child as he drifted off to sleep! According to the book "Boro: Rags and Tatters", edited by Yukiko Koide and Kyoichi, domestic production of corduroy in Japan began in the mid-Meiji era (1868-1911).
Both sides of the futon cover look like color-blocked art. It is a very useful and manageable size, 30 by 28 inches, making it easy to hang, display on a table, or drape over a railing. It has been carefully hand washed and is clean.
The nature of boro means there are holes, patches, stains and wear – and this exquisite piece doesn’t have any condition issues that detracts from its appearance.