Friday, 21 January 2011
Amuse Museum lies in the Asakusa area of Tokyo close to the Sensoji Temple compound, adjacent to the Nitenmon Gate, and you get a good view of the entire site from the top of the building. When we visited there was a large display of Boro cloth. These are the old, patched and stitched clothes that used to be worn by the peasants. They are referred to as Yuyo-no-Bi (beauty of practicality) and are now seen as a contrast to consumer culture, although a generation ago they were considered an embarrassing sign of previous Japanese poverty. We saw underclothes, simple shifts, nappies, kimonos, jackets, tabi socks, mittens, and old scraps of cloth which were salvaged and kept for patching other clothes. The clothes contain a wealth of history and many were kept for generations. For example a bodoko was a cloth used for childbirth in a family to bring good fortune from the ancestors.
In other displays of Japanese culture we saw salmon skin boots, old kitchen tools, Jomon pots and flints and a special display of girls’ underwear from the 19th century called tattsuke. The tattsuke were worn by women in the Nanbu District of Aomori Prefecture and are distinctive with leggings that are tight on the calves and baggy around the bottom.