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Archives for October, 2008

An Omi Jofu Child’s Kimono: Indigo Dyed Hemp or Ramie

October 30, 2008

Omi jofu is one of Japan’s most beautiful and highly regarded asa textiles.  Along with the fabulously refined asa cloth called Echigo jofu from Japan’s eastern region (present day Niigata) and the as-fine-as-silk Okinawan asa cloth, Miyako jofu, these three types of hemp or ramie cloth are the most elegant hand woven asa cloth in the country.

Omi jofu is woven in Shiga Prefecture, which neighbors Kyoto Prefecture; omi jofu is made from both hemp and ramie, and the best examples are of hand plied yarns.  In this child’s kimono, we see Omi jofu’s characteristic indigo dyed kasuri or ikat weave.  This small kimono bears the lovely pattern of paulownia flowers, folding fans and plum blossoms, images that suggest delicacy and fortitude simultaneously.

It is important to note that the fine asa cloth from Echigo and Omi are both directly influenced by the kasuri woven in Okinawa, and the importance of Okinawan fabrics on the Japanese culture cannot be overstated.  In fact, during the past centuries Echigo traded directly with Okinawa, and the impact of Okinawa’s kasuri on that of Echigo is evident.

Omi jofu, Echigo jofu and Miyako jofu are each very collectible due to their fine quality, and, as can be expected, each is highly priced and can be extremely valuable.

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Back From Japan

October 28, 2008

Still unpacked, but I wanted to write a post to say that I’m back from Japan and I will be uploading my website with new items this week, on Thursday or Friday–and yes, you do see things as shown in this photo all over Japan.

This photo was snapped outside a magnificent restaurant, Shishigatani-Sansou, high in Kyoto’s eastern hills or Higashiyama; the view of the hills and the city in the distance is amazingly beautiful.  My friends Aimiya-san, Nakahara-san and Fujii-san from Kyoto’s Gallery Granpie, a shop with beautiful rugs, textiles and objects from all over the world, hosted me to lunch–and while traveling back from the restaurant down the mountain to Kyoto city, three wild monkeys swung in front of our car, chasing each other!  A fun site, to be sure.

Stay tuned for more posts and I’ll make sure to upload some great new pieces to my site this week–with a lot more coming in subsequent weeks.

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