1000 Stitch Belt-0055
This white cotton Senninbari is quite interesting culturally, not to mention, very well made. The belt measures approximately 6.00″ High X 40.75″ Long, not including tie strings. The first thing you see on the front-center of the belt are the 4 large dark characters for the mantra, “Samuhara”. This mantra was popular during Japan’s immediate, pre-World War Two wars with the Chinese and the Russians. It was made even more popular during the Second World War where its use was believed to protect the bearer from harm in battle, particularly against bullets. The 4 small katakana characters immediately to the right of the mantra actually say, “Sa-mu-ha-ra”. Further to the right is an additional writing of the 4 characters for the mantra, “Samuhara”. This appears to have been done in a different hand.
Turning the one-thousand stitch belt over, you can see again that “Samuhara” has been written twice, as has the 4 katakana characters for the mantra. To the far left is a 3 character vertical line, probably for the owner of the belt.
Stitched throughout the belt are small beans. Beans are considered good luck, and are used even today to keep away demons, bad luck, and insure good health. The center of the senninbari has a large pouch, large enough to place your hand. From that view, a “hairy” stitched panel of red knots and threads can be seen when held up to the light. Stitches executed in this manner are seen a bit less often than the normal knotted or flat stitched belts. In addition, a thin wool panel can be seen to have been sewn inside the belt, probably for added warmth. Sewn inside the right hand side of the pouch is what appears to be a large, 10-sen good luck coin. Along with that, a small gray cotton pouch for ofuda or charms was found. The first ofuda is a white paper covered charm that probably has a wood piece inside it. In addition, there is a larger paper charm, folded in 3 segments. One of the deities (that on the right), appears to be that of Acala, also known as Fudo-Myo-o, a protective deity, sacred to many practitioners of Zen, and other forms of Buddhism.
This is a dynamite one-thousand stitch belt; more than a few notches above the average.