1/15/2011

Beauty of Oshima-tsumugi 4

Although today is a fourth time to talk about Oshima-tsumugi, it is not enough.
This kimono is one of my Oshima-tsmugi. I received it as a Christmas present.

We can see small T shaped splashed pattern (KASURI) in kimono. It is wonderful kimono.
Today, I would like to introduce the process of how craftsman make Oshima-tsumugi fabrics.
Strictly speaking, in recent years, we can say that Oshima-tsumugi is not "Oshima-tsumugi" but "Oshima-kasuri". Kasuri means the fabric which is dyed in the yarn (splashed pattern) and Tsumugi means silk fabric (pongee) in Japanese.
Before the end of Meiji era (Meiji era; 1868-1912), Oshima-tsumugi was made only by hand. So craftsmen needed long time to make one Oshima-tsumugi fabric.
After the end of Meiji era, Oshima-tsumugi's demand increased rapidly and it became difficult to make them only by hand. And craftsmen decided to use Takahata as I mentioned before (See "Beauty of Oshima-tsumugi 3: Pongee yet not Pongee").

There are two steps to weave Oshima-tsumugi fabrics.
First, they weave KASURI-MUSHIRO. MUSHIRO means matting in Japanese.

This is KASURI-MUSHIRO. KASURI-MUSHIRO is made by silk yarn and cotton yarn.
We can see the design of Oshima-tsumugi fabric from KASURI-MUSHIRO.
The white part of KASURI-MUSHIRO is made by silk yarn.

Next, they dye KASURI-MUSHIRO with mud or plant. After they dyed KASURI-MUSHIRO they take off cotton yarn from KASURI-MUSHIRO. And then unplait KASURI-MUSHIRO to yarn. Next they weave the dyed silk yarn and new silk yarn which is substitute for cotton yarn. And make same KASURI-MUSHIRO. And dye again. They repeat this process.

Second, after they dyed all the yarn, they weave the yarns and make a fabric.

Advancements in weaving machine technology, now they can produce more detailed and clear pattern.
Oshima-tsumugi has 30 processes. And production network based on the division of labor. So there exist many craftsmen for each process. To make a KASURI-MUSHIRO (as I mentioned as first step) is heavy work so this process is done by men. And second step to weave Oshima-tsumugi fabric is done by female.

When I saw Oshima-tsumugi, I was amazed not only its beauty but also dynamism.


Oshima-tsumugi's kimono looks really nice with Hakata-obi

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