12 / 2005

Japan - Shinto priest cushioned clog with gold trimmings - mid 19th century

The traditional costume of a Shinto priest consists of a black "Eboshi" hat with a distinctive tail, a red "Ho" or temple dress and black lacquered "Asagutsu" or wooden clogs. In ancient times Asagutsu were worn by nobles. Believed to have originally been constructed of leather, asagutsu have been made of hollowed paulownia wood, finished in black lacquer since the Heian period. The clogs are hollowed out in two separate upper and bottom parts and afterwards glued together. Elaborate ceremonial pairs and skilfully decorated or covered with brocade. They are held to the foot with a loose little pillow of white silk or cotton which is filling the space between the clog and the instep part of the foot.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland