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.


  1. The statue indeed deserves something very special to be wrapped in. You have done a stellar job of it. I think a human-sized wrap would be a wonderful thing to have. We all need special treatment.


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