2013 No.11


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Japanese Fabrics Have Their Global Reputation Wrapped Up


Dyeing and Weaving
Japan's textile culture—Shaped by a rich array of techniques

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Nishiki is woven from colorful thread to create fabric featuring a raised brocade pattern. Reflecting influences from West Asia and China, nishiki techniques have been refined in Japan over centuries and are still used today to make sashes, garments worn by Buddhist priests, and costumes worn in Noh and Kabuki plays.

Collaboration: Tatsumura Textile Co., Ltd.  Photos by Takahashi Hitomi

Left: Gorgeous nishiki brocade fabric woven by Tatsumura Textile located in Nishijin (Kyoto), an area famous for producing textiles of extremely high quality. The company is also actively involved in reviving patterns that depict cultural treasures from the Nara Period (8th century).
Right: Medieval shohekiga (wall painting, right); flowers (back left) originally painted by Hon'ami Koetsu (1558-1637) are reproduced in magnificent obi crafted in silver and gold foil and colorful silk thread.

The shite (main role) in the Noh play Dojoji is costumed in a type of nishiki called karaori (worn here by Kanze Kiyokazu, 26th head of the Kanze School of Noh; photo by Hayashi Yoshikatsu).

More than 40 different colors of thread are used to weave a single obi.

A weaver sits quietly at a loom creating obi with intricate patterns achieved by manipulating the warp threads.