If cloth could speak! One can only imagine the past life of this bag, but from all the mending and variety of scraps used in its making one can guess that it was made in the Japanese spirit of "mottainai" which conveys regret over wasting something useful. Poor families saved all cloth which was made and remade into useful objects many times over. I love this piece as a reminder of that notion- that we can be more thoughtful and find ways to make what we have last longer, and remain purposeful.
These types of "rice bags" were used for errands, carrying rice and perhaps other daily necessities, and sometimes to take offerings to local temples.
This particular one appears to be quite old and with many areas repaired in the true boro tradition. It employs various homespun cotton and hemp fabrics and the rope at the top handmade from hemp or another bast fiber. It is also quite large- the bottom measures 11"x11" and each of the 4 sides are about 15"(H) x 12" . One side (the inside?) is more interesting than the outside-you can better see the patchwork. I would guess this one to be from the Meiji era (1868-1912). I appropriately found it at a temple sale.
For more photos, see the post I wrote on the blog:
Price includes cost of shipping and insurance to North America. Contact me for a quote to ship beyond.