Shitone (cushions stuffed with floss silk) (茵)

The term "shitone" refers to an ancient name of cushions to sit on or lie on. A kanji (Chinese character) '褥' (shitone) is used to mention a cushion to lie on, which refers to a bed pad, etc. This section describes a shitone written in another kanji '茵', which refers to a cushion used in the Shinden-zukuri style (architecture representative [characteristic] of a nobleman's residence in the Heian period), etc., to sit on.


A shitone usually refers to a cushion stuffed with floss silk to sit on, which is laid on tatami mats. It can be classified as a kind of zabuton (traditional Japanese cushions used to sit on the floor). A shitone is a square cushion which has four edges bordered with Nishiki (brocade), etc. It is said to have established in the Heian period. As different materials were used for the edges, depending on Ikai (Court rank), the edges were bordered, for example, with koken (yellow silk) for people with goi (Fifth Rank) or people higher than goi in the rank, while they were bordered with dark blue cloth for people with rokui (Sixth Rank) or people lower than rokui.
Masasuke costume selection describes a shitone as follows: 'Its side or width is 0.90 m long; the four edges are bordered with a red Nishiki with a hem of a width of 12.12 to 15.15 cm; Chinese brocade, Kataorimono (hard woven), etc. are sewed to the inside of the four edges; there are stitches in a longitudinal direction inside; floss silk is stuffed into it.'
A shitone bordered outside with Togyo-ki brocade (東京錦) (brocade originally imported from Tonkin, which is also written in two kanji "東京") was particularly called Togyo shitone (cushions made with Togyo-ki brocade).
It is mentioned in Kashiwagi "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji) as follows: 'As he sat on wooden slats, a shitone was offered.'
A shitone described in Japanese classics refers to a cushion of this kind.