Written on November 8, 2013
Shifu is a kind of Japanese cloth which is woven from paper yarn. Usually the weft yarn is hand twisted from washi or paper and the warp yarns are of another material, in this case it’s indigo dyed cotton.
This length is wonderful for its details. As you can see, running from left to right on this length are dark colored blips. These dark blips are remnants of the ink which stained the paper which was shredded into narrow lengths and twisted into warp yarns.
The kind of paper that was often used for shifu weaving was taken from books, sometime accounting books such as this type were utilized.
What I can’t convey in this blog posting is the light weight of this piece of shifu: paper is less dense than, say, cotton, so a woven length of shifu is quite a bit lighter than cotton or hemp cloth.
On the photos above and below you can easily see the indigo dyed cotton warp yarns and some of the loose paper yarns. This length probably dates to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Most probably this piece was taken from a shifu kimono.