1000 Stitch Belt-0048

This very early senninbari probably dates to the period of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Made from a white cotton cloth, the front of the senninbari has 1000 small black ink dots placed in rows across its front. Within each dot, a single white cotton knot was placed. On the reverse, a single flat stitch corresponds to the knot. There were never any tie strings on this early example as many senninbari were only meant to be carried somewhere on the person, or wrapped around the waist, and tucked into the pants for good luck. Overall measurements are 5.50″ High X 22.75″ Long. At one time there may have been a couple of kanji characters written in black ink in the upper left-hand corner, but if so, they are too faded to read.
The book, Imperial Japanese Good Luck Flags and One-Thousand Stitch Belts discusses these early senninbari pieces on page 185. In an image taken from, The Illustrated London News, and dated June 11, 1904, the article says in part that these “talisman for the warrior” were “….made primarily out of cotton cloth and contained one thousand black dots that had a single thread passing through them.” In the early days, when worn around the waist, these were called “girdles” rather than “belts”. This is a fine specimen taken from my collection, and offered here.


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