Monday, February 26, 2018

Bojagin 2: Cash Cow

Wrapping cloth

Wrapped object

This continues the series of wrapping cloths inspired by the Korean tradition of "bojagin," gift-wrapping cloths that are stitched with a specific object in mind. See the previous post—The Gift of Travel—for more about the inspiration and backstory.

This cloth has the subject of currency as a focus. Materials include a U.S. one dollar bill; tiny shell beads that harken back to Native American currency; and a 150-year-old Indian temple sari, itself a form of currency and stored wealth.



I particularly like the section of sari cloth below, where you can see a mended, rewoven section done many, many decades ago by an earlier owner.


And now to the object to be wrapped: an old brass coin bank shaped like a cow.

The object to be wrapped

And finally, the wrapped object. The Korean belief is that a wrapped object, by the very nature of being wrapped, contains good luck.

The wrapped object

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bojagin: The Gift of Travel

Wrapping cloth unfurled

Cloth in use

A recent visit to a show on the history of Korean fashion at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco stimulated an interest in "bojagin," Korean wrapping cloths, a tradition that dates back to the Three Kingdoms period (55 BC to 668 AD). Usually square, they are stitched using pieced cloth, often silk or ramie. Those employing patchwork or scrap fabric are known as "chogak bo." A particularly charming aspect of this tradition is concern for that which is being wrapped, to the point where a bojagin may be created especially to wrap a specific object. 

Close-up detail

I started stitching my own chogak bo and got completely hooked. Here is the first in a frankly obsessive series.

Close-up detail

My bojagin are technically chogak bo, since they are all stitched from scraps and remnants, some recent acquisitions, and some that have been in my possession for over fifty years. My wrapping cloths are also a themed interplay between the cloth and the object to be wrapped.

Corner detail

Materials for this wrapping cloth include scraps of a 150-year-old Indian temple sari, woven cloth from Guatemala, assorted beads, a scrap of upholstery fabric, an odd medallion of an Arab woman of unknown origin, and a Laotian 500 kip note.

Close-up detail

The object to be wrapped is a carved wood Buddha from Laos in the "no more fighting" pose.

Carved wood Buddha

And finally we have the object wrapped.

Wrapped Buddha

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for many more wrapping cloths to come.

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