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Archives for October, 2012

A Six Panel Itajime Shibori Futonji: Sekka and Kikko

October 27, 2012

Many of you are familiar with sekka itajime shibori, or clamp resist dyed shibori which ends up looking something like a flower, in this case, sekka or a snowflower.  And as this shibori technique was commonly used for diapers, many of you are used to seeing this type of shibori done small, like this.As sekka shibori is a fairly straightforward and relatively easy-to-do shibori technique, it was used a great deal in old Japan, especially in the 20th century.  Here we see it covering a marvelously large area as 6 standard-sized loom widths are machine stitched together to create a futon cover (which is now opened, as shown here).  But sekka shibori was also used for undergarments and yukata.In addition to the snowflower motif, you’ll also see an all-over configuration of hexagons.  This could be read as kikko or tortoiseshell, and, as you can imagine, it is a traditional motif that conveys wishes for a long life.This is a huge piece.  It measures 89″ x 72″ or 226 cm x 183 cm and it’s in quite good condition.  Every so often there’s a match head-sized hole, but the cotton is bright white and the indigo is a rich sapphire blue.  It was probably made in the 1950s or 60s.

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Ishidou-ji in Shiga Prefecture: The Oldest Stone Pagoda in Japan

October 19, 2012

When I was in Japan, a friend introduced me to one of his favorite temples, Ishidou-ji in Shiga Prefecture.  Its stone pagoda is said to be the oldest in Japan, dating to the Nara Period (710-794).  Here are some photos from that morning.

The minimal, ancient form of the three tiered pagoda is beautiful–and it’s the reason we ventured to this fairly remote place.

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