10/30/2010

Beauty of Oshima-tsumugi



What a wonderful YouTube video I found!
This video is about “Oshima tsumugi”. “Tsumugi” means pongee in Japanese. Oshima tsumugi is one of the pongee made at Amami Oshima Island, located at Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. Oshima tsumugi is light, feels nice, and lets air through and we can enjoy it as a daily stylish Kimono. Oshima tsumugi is well known as “Doro Oshima”. Raw silk dyed by mineral included in the clay.
The beautiful color which we call "crow's wet feather color" is made by this Doro (clay) dyeing technique and Yeddo hawthorn. The color changes by light. And more you wash, color will change gradually. It is said that it will become the most beautiful 100 year after made.

Doro dyeing technique requires great care. And they are eco-friendly.

----Step----
- Making tips with Yeddo hawthorns which are indigenous at Amami Oshima Island.
- Boiling 600kg (about 1322lb) tips for half a day and extracting tannin acid.
- Soaking for a week to ferment.
- Obtaining about 1500-2000 Liter dye.

We can learn ecologically friendly dyeing after these multiple steps.
Tips are used as fuel for boiling the pot to make more dye. After using it for the fuel, huge amount of ash is used as fertilizer. Ash is also used to dye indigo dying previously. Basically, Yeddo hawthorns are slow-growing trees. More than 20-years-old trees are usually cut down for the use of dye. When they cut the trees, they do not cut at the foot of the trees. They leave the root to grow up again. And 7-8 year later, they can use the same trees again. They recycle not only the ash, but also Yeddo hawthorns themselves. There is no needlessness.

No wast… I believe that this is one of the superior points in Japanese culture.
I watch this powerful video many times. On the next blog,, I would like to write more about Oshima tsumugi.  I was very impressed to know that Oshima tsumugi kimono is made by wonderful craftsmen. And have a real desire to share these wonderful Kimono with people worldwide.

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