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The Curious Collection of Anthony Taulbut: Zori Sandals

Artifact - Zori Sandals

Zori are a traditional form of Japanese sandal made from wood, adapted from Geta sandals. Scrolls dating back as far as the 10th century depict people wearing Geta, and the sandals are often still worn today, though their production peaked in 1955.

Both Geta and Zori were originally designed to keep the wearer’s feet off the ground, in order to protect the bottom of the kimono from dirt, mud or even snow. They are easy to slip on and off, which is a must for a people with a custom of always removing their shoes at the door. Sometimes, they are also worn with special socks known as tabi. The two “teeth” below the base of the shoe are very lightweight and make a clacking sound when the wearer walks. Zori differ from Geta in that the heel is slightly raised, and the shape is more rounded than the traditional squared off shape of Geta.

These particular Zori are very well-worn, and feature a red lacquered underside, a woven footbed, a pattern painted on the wood, and a wider, yet still rounded shape which is consistent with Zori made during the Edo period (1603-1867).

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