July 07 2011 Thursday at 08:49 AM

1,000 Stitches

This is a blog post I wrote a few years ago for Dinosaurs and Robots, but thought I'd re-post it here because I find it so fascinating. Embroidered senninbari garments ("Thousand Person Stitches") were simple caps, belts or vests that Japanese women would give to soldiers to wear before they went into battle. I love the public-stitching-jam aspect of making one: "a woman from the family or community would stand in a busy location like the entrance to a train station and entreat passersby to add one stitch each. When one thousand stitches had been collected, the belt was believed by some to have special power to protect the bearer from the hazards of battle." Beautiful.

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