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A Cloth Woven from Hand Plied Nettle Yarn

Written on May 9, 2009

Asa is the general Japanese term used to refer to textiles that are woven from yarns that are hand-plied from bast or plant fibers–chief among them in Japan are hemp or ramie, taima or choma, respectively.  Other bast fibers used in traditional Japanese weaving were kuzu (kudzu), shina (linden), fuji (mountain wisteria) to name a few.

The beautiful fragment of cloth shown below is an asa textile, and although it appears to be woven from hemp or ramie yarn, it is, in fact woven from nettle, called akaso in Japan.

akaso1a

akaso1

It is said to be from Shiga Prefecture in Japan’s Kansai region, Shiga being the same place where the fabulous omi jofu or the fine-as-silk ramie and hemp cloth is woven.  Most likely this wonderful, small piece of cloth is taken from a kimono.

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