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A Bashofu Sleeve: Banana Fiber Cloth from Okinawa

Written on December 14, 2009

Bashofu is the famous banana leaf fiber cloth that is almost immediately associated with the Okinawan Islands, which are now politically consolidated and comprise Japan’s southernmost prefecture.

This length of cloth is a sleeve from a dancer’s kimono: the base is of bashofu, and the decorative bars of color are woven from cotton: the blue is a kasuri or ikat dyed in Okinawan indigo and the orange/pink and white bars are undyed cotton and cotton dyed in benibana or safflower.  Cloth of this type comes from Taketomijima Island.


Okinawa’s impact on Japanese cloth is tremendous, with kasuri, or ikat weaving, being one of the more notable influences on Japan.  The Japanese, to this day, look toward the cloth of Okinawa—bashofu, bingata, hana ori, Miyako jofu—with profound interest and appreciation.

The simplicity and the beauty of this cloth does not need much description.

Bashofu1cBashofu is one of the more precious fibers in what is now present-day Japan.



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  1. Comment by yangs in providence:

    absolutely beautiful!

    February 10, 2010 @ 11:30 am