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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    late 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Indigo-dyed cotton, quilted in lighter blue cotton thread (sashiko)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This coat, with its tapered sleeves to allow for active movement, would probably have been worn by a farmer. It is made from two layers of indigo-dyed cotton which have been stitched together using a quilting technique known as ‘sashiko’. Three different stitching patterns have been used. Clothes with sashiko stitching are found in many parts of Japan, but are particularly prevalent in the cold climate of northern Honshû, the main island. Garments stitched in this way are strong and warm, and extremely suitable for working apparel.

Physical description

Farmer's coat of cotton with geometric pattern quilting in three different repeating designs. Indigo blue cotton with geometric pattern-quilting in lighter blue cotton thread (sashiko). There are three different quilting patterns - the main body of the garment, quilted in single thread, has horizontal and vertical runniing stitches to give a diamond patter. The sleeves also in single thread, have a curvilinear pattern. The upper section around the neck both back and front, quilted in double thread, has a pattern of small separate diamonds.
The coat is made out of four loom widths witht he usual tapering insertions at each side of the front opening. The sleeves, of black cotton, are made from one length of material which is folded over to form the shoulder. The bottom of the black cotton is then folded diagonally up to meet the first end, and the two ends seamed together. There is thus no seam across the back of the sleeve, and from the front it has the appearance of a triangular underarm gusset.
There is a deep collar band of plain blue which has a slightly padded interlining. The lower part of the front opening and the hem are bound with dark blue cotton. The entire coat is lined with soft light blue and grey cotton, and except for the sleeve linings which are plain, the quilting goes through both top and lining material. The cuffs are faced with plain black cotton to a depth of 5 cms.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


late 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Indigo-dyed cotton, quilted in lighter blue cotton thread (sashiko)


Height: 4 in, Width: 4 in

Object history note

Purchased. Registered File number 1982/533.

Historical context note

For a similar coat, see Royal Ontario Museum Catalogue: Brett, K. and Burnham, H., Japanese Country Textiles, Toronto : Governors of the University of Toronto, 1965, page 39, plate C17. NAL Bibliographic No.: 43.E Box I

Descriptive line

Farmer's coat, cotton quilted in cotton thread, Japan, Meiji period, late 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Earle, J. (editor), Japanese Art and Design: the Toshiba Gallery Guide, London: V&A Publications, 1986, p.176.
Jackson, Anna, Japanese Country Textiles, London: V&A Publications, 1997, fig. 1 and 77
Jackson, Anna, Japanese Textiles in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 200. Plate 147


Cotton; Indigo; Cotton thread




Clothing; Textiles


East Asia Collection

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