oshima tsumugi

oshima tsumugi


tsumugi


Definition:

The Oshima style of kimono cloth in Japan references the very detailed double ikat cloth produced in Amami, Oshima, an island situated between Kyushu and Okinawa in the South of the country. Local tradition there developed a tsumugi (hand spun, tightly woven silk) with a complex system of spaced-dyed warps and wefts which were each woven with a cross thread to resist the dye of an immersion in mud of a rich chocolate color. The threads are later rinsed thoroughly and unwoven prior to being finally woven together as kasuri (ikat.) The process was so expensive and beautiful that the cloth was long paid as tribute tax to the ruling daimyos. The Oshima style eventually was copied by producers in Kagoshima, the main Kyushu port of entry where it continues in a present multi-color form in wide variety of both tiny and larger double ikat patterns. During the competitive textile developments of the twentieth century, the style was copied elsewhere in ever cheaper techniques. In Gunma, there were even print versions produced in the 1920s and 1930s.