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Two Slivers of Okinawan Bingata

Written on February 20, 2010

Shown today are two small fragments of bingata dyed fabric, the precious stencil dyed cloth of the Ryukyu Islands or Okinawa.  Few other types of cloth are as prized in Japan as is bingata

Bingata1It is the beauty of bingata that is attractive to the Japanese and to others, but it’s also the complex stencil resist and dyeing techniques that add value to this cloth–as well as a sense of wonder.  This cloth is resisted and dyed on both sides, with additional color being added by hand: the process of the stencil resisting and the process of how and when color is added to the cloth is far too complicated to go into in this post: suffice it to say that the elevated status of bingata in the pantheon of resist dyed cloth is more than well deserved.Bingata1aThe piece shown on the left, above and below, is dyed on ramie cloth; the yellow piece to its right is dyed on cotton.  The delicacy and colors of these patterns, and the light touch of the dyers, is really impressive.   One of Japan’s most famous modern graphic artists, Keisuke Serizawa (1895- 1984). the subject of a previous post on this blog, was so profoundly inspired by bingata dyeing that his entire artistic career was colored by the amazing technique and appearance of this extravagant cloth from Okinawa.Bingata1bThese fragments most likely date to the last quarter of the 19th century.

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3 Comments

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  1. Comment by Suzanna:

    Very striking. So intricate and varied.

    February 20, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  2. Comment by Lambert:

    Absolutely stunning!

    February 21, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

  3. Comment by Kit:

    What beautiful fragments — such energy in the pattern! I did not know that the resist was applied to both sides with bingata!

    February 23, 2010 @ 9:31 am