by Mary Beth Krapil
I want to share with you one more collection that was on exhibit at the European Patchwork Meeting in Ste Marie aux Mines, France, the “Hands of Korea”, Korean Bojagi Exhibition. Korean Bojagi (Bo-Jah-ki) – traditional wrapping cloth – is a marriage of utility and beauty. Historically, it is a method of handstitched patchwork similar to quilting, but with no batting and backing. The piecing forms patterns and designs with themes of health, fertility, and wishes for longevity and abundance. The wrapping cloths were used for practical tasks such as wrapping and carrying food and household objects. As well as for ceremonial and gift giving purposes in families, religious ceremonies and imperial courts. Composed of scraps of fabric from sewing clothing and household linens, Bojagi reflects the resourcefulness and conservative ethic of Korean women.
Embroidered bojagi, or subo, was another form of decorated cloth associated with joyous occasions such as betrothals and weddings. They are used to wrap items such as gifts from the family of the bridegroom to the new bride.
Historical records indicate the use of bogaji as early as the Three Kingdoms period, 57 BC to 668 AD. There are many existing examples of Korean patchwork bogaji dating from 1392-1910.
Here are modern examples of the art and beauty of this rich Korean tradition.
These were simply beautiful and amazing works. I very much wanted to lift the corner and look at the seams in the back. Some were so sheer, you could see the seams and they looked so perfect! It was almost a part of the design. I wanted to see if they were finished in some way. But I refrained. Do you think there are quilt police in France?