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What is this?

Vest which opens at the front; fronts connected to back by two twisted strands on each side. Hexagonal mesh of plaited recycled paper; handwriting on the paper reads as irregular black spots.

Why is this in our collection?

Woven textiles made from paper originated in 16th century Japan, where these paper cloths (shifu in Japanese) were most likely developed by the impoverished rural population for lack of other materials. With few raw materials available, farmers originally cut the pages of ancient account books in order to turn them into shifu weaves. The ink writing on the paper also remained visible on the finished fabric, leaving an interesting speckled pattern. Soon, this cloth attained a more prominent place in society as samurai refined the technique by means of sophisticated and elaborate folding, cutting, and spinning processes, in which the finest threads could be manufactured and woven into noble cloths. These paper... more

This is a sweat protector (koyori ase-hajiki) from Japan. It is dated 1850–60 and we acquired it in 2009. Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This object is currently resting in our storage facility.

Its medium is

medium: paper technique: 4-strand plaiting with 2-strand twists label: plaited paper

Its dimensions are

H x W: 62.2 x 52 cm (24 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

We have 1 video that features Sweat Protector (koyori Ase-hajiki) (Japan), 1850–60.

Sue Lawty on Paper Vest

Artist Sue Lawty examines the shifu (paper cloth) sweat protector and discusses its unique qualities. Lawty explored the Cooper Hewitt collection as part of her Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Textiles department.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sweat Protector (koyori Ase-hajiki) (Japan), 1850–60 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 July 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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