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  • Place of origin:

    Shonai (region, possibly, made)
    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1870-1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The quilting technique used on this garment is known as 'sashiko'. This method of sewing layers of cotton fabric together was used to make work clothes warmer and more durable. This sleeveless jacket was designed to be worn when hauling sledges. The diagonal band quilted with white thread is both decorative and practical, reinforcing the fabric against the rubbing of the sledge straps.

Physical description

Sleeveless jacket of dark blue plain weave cotton. It is open down the front and has a seam down the centre back. The armholes are deeply cut and there is a vertical slit at either side of the bottom edge of the garment formed by leaving the side seams unsewn for 11 cms.
Diagonally across the front of the jacket from underarm left up to the right shoulder there is an extra band of blue cotton, 14 cms wide. This band is quilted in double white cotton thread in a concentric diamond design. Another similar band of material is sewn down over the right shoulder to a depth of 20 cms back and front. The only fastenings the jacket has are three buttons - two mother-of-pearl and one plastic (replacement?) - and three blue cotton loops joining this shoulder band to the diagonal band.
The main section of the garment is covered with three different designs quilted through a double layer of cotton. This pattern quilting (sashiko) is carried out in double dark blue cotton thread. The hem section is quilted with a zig-zag design, the middle section with a large diamond design, and the top with concentric diamonds.
The jacket has a long collar band of dark blue cotton with simple small, all-over kasuri lines in white in both warp and weft. The armholes, lower edge, and front opening are bound with plain blue cotton.
This garment is specifically designed for sled hauling, the quilted diagonal band being a special reinforcement where the hauling rope is slung. It is said by the dealer to have come from the Shonai region in the north-west of Honshu (Yamagata Prefecture).

Place of Origin

Shonai (region, possibly, made)
Japan (made)


1870-1900 (made)



Materials and Techniques

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


Length: 83.0 cm, Width: 46.0 cm across shoulders, Width: 57.5 cm at waist

Object history note

Said by the dealer to have been made in the Shonai region, in the north-west of Honshu (Yamagata Prefecture).

Purchased. Registered File number 1982/1839.

Descriptive line

Sleeveless sledge-hauling jacket, indigo-dyed cotton quilted in cotton thread, Japan, 1850-1900

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

Jackson, Anna, Japanese Country Textiles, London: V&A Publications, 1997, page 109, fig. 78


Cotton (textile); Cotton thread; Indigo


Quilting; Plain weave


Clothing; Textiles; Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society


East Asia Collection

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