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Antique Japanese  Boro & Ranru Items

Below you will see some of the harder-to-categorize items in the Boro and/or Ranru venue.  Most will be either cotton, hemp or a combination of both, and almost all of the pieces shown will be indigo dyed in solids, kasuri (ikat) or shima (stripe) patterns; again, many will have combinations of multiple patterns.  First, a brief definition of terms:             
Japanese English
boro rag, scrap, tattered clothes
boro- shabby, run down (prefix)
boroboro worn out, crumbling
borokire old rag
boroya rag & scrap merchant

"Ranru" translates as "rag taste" and I believe refers to those items that would be considered by some as beyond salvaging, while to the aficionados of this venue, the same pieces are held in esteem bordering on reverence.

This is not a mainstream venue; it's not for everyone.  Boro and Ranru are for the true collector of unique textile items and for those who can see and hear the stories that these pieces tell.  They speak of an abhorrence of waste, of creatively making something new from something old, making something from nothing at all.  And they speak of decades of hardship in the home that made them, each scrap sewn with loving efficiency to cover damage incurred by the fabric giving yet one more piece of its life for the one who used it daily.

Text descriptions of many of these items will be limited to measurements and fabric content of the item as much as it may be known.  Pictures will provide most of the description, but I am more than happy to run on at length in email should you desire to know more.    

SOLD Antique Japanese Boro Work Jacket, Reversible B37.

Pattern: Bright blue exterior cotton with symbol on back and collar strip kanji in white, reverse in boro patched indigo with painted (?) chrysanthemum in red and pink with edges detailed in grey.
Comments: This would be an amazing boro jacket at three times the price; at it's price here on my page, it is beyond amazing. The outer shell cotton is, I believe, more recent than the dark indigo of the liner, or reverse side of the jacket. The bright blue side is innocuous enough but this jacket really takes center stage when it is reversed. Numerous skillfully done repairs are present and not one of them shows on the bright side of the jacket. I've photographed the sleeves to show the pieces of cotton with kanji used as patches; I can't actually imagine wearing this one with the bright blue on the outside when you have this perfectly amazing boro waiting on the other side. This is a jacket that won't last long beyond the first couple of boro shoppers. Incredibly unique, this is a must have.

B37 $175.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Boro Excellent
Color: Indigo, bright blue, dark red, etc.

•Length: 31 1/4"
•Width: 50"
•Sleeve: 12-8" taper
•Shoulder: 24 1/2"

SOLD Antique Japanese Boro Indigo Work Coat B36.

Pattern: Plain dark indigo blue shell and black liner.
Comments: My camera seems to have take a day off while doing this last group of photos; there are NO stripes on this coat. It is dark indigo blue on the outside and black cotton liner on the inside. You will notice that the black fabric adds contrast to the outside at the hemline as well, being responsible for approximately 9 3/4" of the length. The black liner cotton is also used here for reinforcement of the cuffs on the exterior. Note also the interesting way the sleeves are sewn near the cuffs; it gives the impression of the cuff end having been folded and stitched to reduce the circumference of the sleeve at that end. The back seam toward the bottom has come undone and needs to be restitched by someone who knows how; you can see in the photo that there is no torn fabric. Obvious hand stitching present in this one and it will be completely wearable once you either repair the seam or simply sew the edges shut to make a back vent to match the two side slits. This one has some weight due to the full liner and added length and will be an excellent addition to your Japanese wardrobe or simply as a really interesting jacket to integrate into your American wardrobe.

B36 $95.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Boro Excellent
Color: Indigo & black

•Length: 38 1/2"
•Width: 50"
•Sleeve: 15 1/2-6 3/4" taper
•Shoulder: 24 1/2"

Antique Japanese Boro Shima Noragi B35.

Pattern: Shima (stripe) in grey (probably once either blue or white) and pink (faded to nonexistence over most of garment) on an indigo ground.
Comments: Boro, with mended and partially mended areas at shoulders and an open seam at the back of the sleeve on wearer's right. Jacket has side slits and has a different shima fabric reinforcing the interior of the cuffs. The picture featuring the small mended hole goes with the picture of the larger square mending patch placed on the inside of the jacket; I showed it because of the care taken that the pattern on the patch lined up with the pattern of the jacket. The seam opening is NOT a rip or tear; it is stitching that needs to be replaced and sewing is beyond my talents. Apart from that seam, the jacket is actually structurally sound and wearable for those of us in love with boro fabrics.

B35 $70.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Boro very good
Color: Indigo multi

•Length: 29 1/4"
•Width: 50"
•Sleeve: 12-7 1/4" taper
•Shoulder: 25 1/2"

SOLD Antique Japanese Boro Indigo Happi B34.

Pattern: Plain, without any pattern aside from the symbol on the back and the kanji and flower on the collar strips.
Comments: First, it is NOT black as it appears in the pictures, but rather a really nice medium dark denim blue. The fabric is medium thick and extremely fluid with excellent movement. I would venture that this one is made from Japanese cotton rather than imported cotton; the reason I say this is because I own a pair of blue jeans made out of Japanese cotton and they are unlike ANY American cotton; this jacket feels exactly the same.
There are several small holes (nothing that makes it less than wearable) and a number of areas of what looks like a clay-based mud; I've left it alone but I believe that what doesn't scratch off will launder out in cold water. Looking at the pictures of the inside where the back symbol is visible through the fabric, I get the impression that the symbol was done by a resist type of dyeing; you can judge for yourself on that.
While this is shaped like a modern day happi, the fabric is completely unlike any recently made happis. When you look at the pictures of the sleeves you will see strange fade lines and also notice that there is a double-seam look at the cuff that is reminiscent of the double seams found on our blue jeans.
I feel that this is a really important jacket; the fact that it has some Boro aspects just adds to the desirability of it. Be quick.

B34 $90.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Boro Excellent
Color: Indigo

•Length: 27 1/4"
•Width: 51"
•Sleeve: 9 1/2-8" taper
•Shoulder: 26"

SOLD Antique Japanese Boro Makake B33.

Pattern: Shima stripe apron with white and blue kasuri tie.
Comments: Super soft from age and use, small holes scattered around but nothing that prohibits using. They went to a little bit of trouble with this one, as shown by taking tucks in the fabric at the waistband; neat little old boro item to add to your growing collection.

B33 $25.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Boro Excellent
Color: Indigo multi

•Length: 28 1/2"
•Width: 19"
•Sleeve: "
•Shoulder: "

SOLD B32 Japanese Boro Ranru Kasuri Futon Panels Indigo Cotton.

This piece measures 37 1/4" x 68 3/4".  It is three panels, measuring 12 1/4", 13 1/2", 11 1/2".  I have tried my best with the 21 pictures to show as many individual mends as possible, and to show the various fabrics close up so that you can see the patterns which are numerous.  These pieces are useful as floor cloths, table covers, wall hangings, window treatments, casual wraps to wear with jeans, and a host of other uses can be thought of, I am sure.  This piece is $45.00. 

SOLD Antique Japanese Kimono Yogi, Boro Boro Ranru B31

Pattern: Solid Indigo blue outer shell, interior is multiple patches of kasuri and solid color fabric.  Cotton batting, collar strip may be muslin, entire garment appears to be hand stitched and some of the fabric appears to be hand loomed as well. 
Comments: Very boro but structurally sound. I will be including scraps of kasuri from old mompeis and solid indigo from makakes should you choose to patch the open holes. I believe this to be a yogi, which is the padded kimono worn for warmth while sleeping. I also believe that it originates in either late Meiji or early Taisho; this is my opinion only.  The garment is being sold for less than a third of comparable boro garments of its type. 

B31 Boro Boro Yogi Kimono $300.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Antique Boro
Color: Blue
•Length: 53"
•Width: 46"
•Sleeve: 15"
•Shoulder: 23 1/2"

SOLD B30 Japanese Boro Futon Cover Indigo Kasuri Meiji 6 Panels.

Structurally sound, six panel futon cover from the Meiji Period, approximately 1895.  All of the patterns you see here are woven except for the patch of indigo and white leaf pattern seen in the picture row 8 on the right; this one is dyed, most likely with the rice paste resist method (Katazome.)  A few of the patch pieces are the same pattern as the bulk of the piece but most are small kasuri bits from other pieces and there is one little piece of pink fabric used as a patch, seen in the bottom row, picture on the left.    Top two pictures show the cover from each side; I like the side best that has all the patches visible, but whichever side you like best, this is a marvelous old piece that will serve you well. 

B30 Boro Meiji Futon $95.00

Material: Cotton
Condition: Good Antique Condition
Color/Pattern: Indigo Ikat Kasuri & Shima
•Length: 104"
•Width: 62" 

SOLD Japanese Boro, Ranru Men's Antique Haori, Shima Cotton B18.

Right hand side seam is open at the lower half; not torn, just in need of resewing.  As you can see in the right hand photo, the collar strip has frayed apart; this could be repaired or simply covered with another piece of fabric to lend even more charm to this piece.  Liner is solid indigo blue cotton and the shell is fine shima cotton in indigo and brown.  The color in person is more blue when close, more brown at a distance.  Frays on some areas at seams and cuffs, the garment is strangely still structurally sound and would be wearable with little effort.  I have priced it as patch fabric, however. 

B18 Boro Noragi Haori $40.00

Material: Cotton
Condition: Good Antique Condition
Color: Blue
•Length: 39"
•Width: 50"
•Sleeve: 18" tapering to 7"
•Shoulder: 22" 

Japanese Boro, Ranru Antique Futon Cover, Six Panels, B19.

Hand-sewn, patched, torn, multiple patterns and solids of indigo cotton, shima and kasuri cotton too.  The check pattern and the area of 'arrow' pattern seen at the top edge are woven too, not dyed.  Awesome piece to use as is, to finish patching or to separate into the six panels for other uses. 

B19 Boro Ranru Futon Cover, Six Panels $90.00
Material: Cotton
Condition: Boro, Ranru
Color: Indigo & etc.
Size: Approximately 148" x 156" 

SOLD B16 Antique Mompei Japanese Boro Kasuri Ikat Indigo. 

Fantastically, fabulously boro-boro!  This is the best mompei through the shop in a VERY long time.  The patches on the front of the legs (close-ups second row) are of course entirely different from the main body of the fabric.  The picture bottom left is a sideways shot of the top of the repaired area on the leg viewer's right, showing the rough hand stitching of this particular part of the repair.  Picture right third row shows a repair that has come open and needs to be stitched again.  Very soft with elastic that should be replaced with either new elastic or drawstrings. 

B16 Boro Mompei $45.00
Material: Cotton
Color: Indigo & White
Condition: Boro, Ranru
Waist: 35"
Length: 27"

B15 Antique Kimono Mompei Japanese Boro Kasuri Ikat Indigo.

Wonderfully boro, with rough stitch repairs of the pocket shown in pictures center left and center right.  The two bottom pictures show open seams that can be re-sewn; I don't do it in case the end purchaser wants them left alone or wishes to disassemble the garment for another use.  The pink is only visible in the pictures now that you know to look for it; in reality it is rather subtle, so the pictures are fairly accurate.  Very soft with elastic that should be replaced with either new elastic or drawstrings. 

B15 Boro Mompei $35.00
Material: Cotton
Color: Indigo, White, Pink 
Condition: Boro, Ranru
Waist: 34"
Length: 33"

B14 Antique Kimono Haori Japanese Boro Kasuri Ikat Indigo. 

Holes on both shoulders in the shell; big one on wearer's right, small one on left.  Very very soft from repeated washing and incredibly comfy, I think the damage to this one was accomplished by an accident rather than from dry rot or some other similar source.  The yellow in this one just straight refused to be photographed, but it is there.  Picture top right shows the dramatic fade across the upper back; this is caused by the wearer's sweat.  White cotton shoulder liner; patch the holes with a different ikat or just leave them there; the structure of the garment is still sound enough for wearing.

B14 Boro Noragi $55.00
Material: Cotton
Color: Indigo, White, Pink, Yellow
Condition: Boro, Ranru
Entire Width: 48"
Body Width: 22"
Sleeve Vertical: 9"
Length: 25"


SOLD Japanese Boro Futon #1, Shima & Solid Indigo Cotton.

This one is not batted; it is the solid Indigo blue cotton on one side and the Shima cotton on the other side.  Minor amounts of mending and repairing, it measures 64" x 69 1/4".  $195.00.

SOLD Japanese Boro Boro Futon #2, Indigo Shima Kasuri Cotton.

I believe that this one gets its weight from numerous layers of patches rather than from any batting.  It is the weight of an antique quilt and has some fantastic pieces.  A lot of the damage you see is pieces that have come partially un-sewn and need to be tacked down again.  When you look at the hole in the center, you will see what I mean by multiple layers of patches instead of cotton padding for the interior.  It would take less work with a needle than you think to make this piece useful again as a futon cover; that and just a few scraps of kasuri would do it in truth.  This one measures 64" x 65" and is $235.00.