Color in Barcelona and textile in Okinawa

Recently I stayed in Barcelona, Spain for one week. I saw many architectural works designed by Gaudi and paintings drawn by Picaso, as well as many ZARA shops, selling various kinds of clothes, everywhere in the city. The first ZARA shop opened in 1975 in Spain and now ZARA shops expand all over the world. Clothes in these shops are eye-catching and colorful, which remind me of Spain

At the same time, I recall colorful ryukyu Bingata kimonos in Okinawa, the most southwest prefecture in Japan, which reflect climate and culture of Okinawa. Alternatively I think about textiles in Okinawa. Indeed it is bright and rich in nature, but many delicate textiles, like Miyako-jofu, hemp clothes made by weaving flax known as choma with smooth surface like polished by wax, in Okinawa.
Okinawa is full of different textiles, for example: Basho-fu, Yomitanzan Hanaori, Shuri te-ori, Ryukyu-kasuri, Kumejima Tsumugi, Miyako-jofu, Yaeyama-jofu, and so on. At first glance, these textiles look like discreet, but keep dynamic beauty inside. I wondered why they were originally made in Okinawa.

From various books about textiles, we can find the reason in their historical background of Ryukyu, a former name of Okinawa. The most festive wears in the dynasty of Ryukyu were unpatterned monochrome kimonos with white ikats. The second festive ones were Hanaori kimonos, where thousands of small star-like patterns were woven using colorful yarns. In this way, because various kinds of Ryukyu textiles have been inherited through the dynasty of Ryukyu by craftsmen, they imply discreetness.
On the other hand, some textiles, Miyako-jofu, Kumejima Tsumugi, etc, were woven for poll taxes for long years. As Ms. Okabe Itsuko wrote on “Textile-dyeing is the testament of history. (Japanese Textile, Vol. 20, Tairyu-sha)”, Miyako-jofu textiles should be paid as poll taxes to Shimazu Clan, which put pressures upon the dynasty of Ryukyu, and craftsmen have woven them with silent aesthetic feelings and prominent techniques during their drudgery.
Therefore, we can get various points of view on textiles from historical backgrounds.
I am very impressed to read the following description:
“In Okinawa, clothes are scapegoats for wearers and textiles are spiritual things, which imply natural beauty. Spin threads and weaving textiles are really women’s activity to weave women’s mind.”

I sometimes recall our past kimono lesson in Tokyo. My teacher, who educated me on various kinds of things about kimono and kimono dressing, was over 70 years old. She was generally very gentle, but once I strode across a skirt of kimono, she told me in a stern tone that I need not ever come to the lesson. At that time, I supposed I just got chewed out by her, but now I realize that she really loved kimonos and textiles, even woven craftsmen, and wanted me to tell everything about her loving kimonos. Whenever I recall this episode, I am deeply impressed by her posture and appreciated her very much.
“Noble Activity for Weaving and Dyeing”
Beauty could be inherited from generation to generation, because people in each generation have been feeling it beautiful.

Basho-fu in Kijoka

Yomitanzan Hanaori

* Images are excerpted from Japanese Textile, Tairyu-sha


Blogger Ryth said...

Wow, I had no idea there were so many different weaves from Okinawa! I'm just familiar with their bingata style (which I adore).

Thank you for sharing! It's so educational.

August 16, 2009 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger Hiro said...

Thank you for your comment.
Textile in Okinawa is really wonderful and variable.

October 19, 2009 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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And you et an account on Twitter?

December 26, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

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