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A Shower of Shibori

Written on May 15, 2009

On today’s post I am showing a selection of shibori from my collection–shibori is the famous “shape resist dyed” cloth of Japan which is akin to tie-dyeing.  All of the images below are details from various shibori yukata, a yukata being an unlined, “casual” kimono, and the examples displayed range in age from (approximately) the end of the 19th century until about 1940 or so.

Most of the pieces are hand loomed cotton which has been dyed in indigo, with one exception being  a hemp garment dyed in benibana or safflower dye, the safflower yielding a bright magenta color in this case.

Some pieces shown have been sold, some are offered for sale on my website now, some will be offered in the future, and some I am keeping in my own collection.

Almost all the shibori shown here was created in Japan’s shibori capital, the area encompassing the towns of Arimatsu and Narumi, near Nagoya, where in the late 19th century endless variations on the shibori technique were invented and proliferated.

For more in-depth information on shibori, the resource I would suggest is “Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing” by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice and Jane Barton, available here.


Above: yanagi or willow shibori.


I will offer this yukata (above) on my website on 20 May.


This shibori has a dyed grey field.  The shibori is of the typed referred to as tatsumaki arashi, or diagonal diamond net.


Tesuji or hand pleated shibori, above.  This is currently for sale on my website.


Above, shirokage or white shadow shibori showing the tatewaku motif.


The motif is interlocking circles or shippo tsunagi: the shibori is created by stitching a piece of paper into a fold in the cloth: this allows the proper resist to create a pattern as shown above.


Okkochizome or a kind of shibori where selected areas of cloth were dip dyed.  The motif is the kiri or pauwlonia flower which is associated with the legendary phoenix in Japanese Buddhist symbolism.


Above: pleating done in two directions yields this striking check pattern.


Benibana or safflower dyed hemp: the pattern shows folding fans, plum blossoms and chidori, or plovers.


Above: suji or pleated shibori.  A variation is offered for sale on my website, here.


Suji or pleated shibori vertical stripes with stencil applied color on the horizontal stripes (surikomi).


Shirokage shibori in the form of the hemp leaf or asa-no-ha, one of Japan’s traditional motives.

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Comments closed

  1. Comment by Jane Callender:

    Hi – Have been enjoying your website – thought you might like to look at mine when you have some time – http://www.callishibori.co.uk

    Kind regards – Jane

    July 23, 2010 @ 8:49 am

  2. Comment by Beth:

    Sorry, nothing to do with Shibori, although it is quite beautiful.
    I am looking for help from any one who may have information on Mary June Kellogg Rice. My Grandfather and her were 1st cousins and she did a lot of family research back in the 70’s. I heard she may have published a book on this very matter. Not sure if you can help or not. I am reaching out to anyone and everyone. Thank you,
    Beth Valent

    September 1, 2010 @ 2:42 pm