Page 1

Woven Treasures of Japan’s Tawaraya Workshop MARCH 23˜ AUGUST 12, 2012

The Tawaraya Workshop

Japan has a remarkably refined textile tradition. For centuries, the Japanese have admired the silks produced in the Nishijin neighborhood of Kyoto as the epitome of beauty and opulence. One of Nishijin’s oldest and most illustrious silk workshops is Tawaraya, founded more than 500 years ago. While celebrated for producing exquisite fabrics used in Noh theatrical costume, the Tawaraya workshop is also renowned for supplying the Japanese Imperial Household with yusoku orimono (有職織物)—fine silks in patterns, weaves, and color combinations traditionally reserved for the aristocracy. The 18th-generation head of Tawaraya, Mr. Hyoji Kitagawa (born 1936), has been designated Holder of an Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure) by the Japanese government for his knowledge and preservation of yusoku orimono. As head of Tawaraya, Kitagawa designs textiles and closely oversees the dyers, weavers, and other talented craftspeople involved in their production. He likens himself to the conductor of an orchestra, synthesizing the artistry of many specialist masters to create a harmonious finished product. Although the workshop head must be proficient in all the tasks required in silk manufacture, Kitagawa explains that the key to success in his role is not technical skill, but rather a sense of beauty. He says that skill can be taught and imitated, but the development of kansei—aesthetic sensitivity and intuition—requires many years of tutelage and thoughtful nurturing. His ultimate goal as head of Tawaraya is to uphold the workshop’s standards of technical and aesthetic excellence cultivated over many generations. Kitagawa learned his art from his father, Heiro Kitagawa (1898–1988), the 17th-generation head of Tawaraya and also a Living National Treasure. Historically the workshop was passed down from father to oldest son. Born the second son in his family, Kitagawa grew up never expecting to take on the mantle of leadership. He says that he had no significant interest in textiles as a child and rarely saw people weaving. Until he was ten years old, Japan was at war, and the production of luxury fabrics had all but ceased. After the war, he rarely

visited the family workshop, which was some distance from his home. At the age of twenty, however, after failing the entrance examinations for university, Kitagawa made a decision that changed his life. While many young people in his position study diligently and retake the exams the next year, his older brother, who had been training unenthusiastically as their father’s apprentice, asked Kitagawa to consider replacing him in the family business. Their father told Kitagawa that in making this decision, he should keep in mind that work at Tawaraya would not involve creating his own art as

Above top: Heiro Kitagawa (left) and his son Hyoji Kitagawa in the Tawaraya workshop in the 1970’s. Above: Hyoji Kitagawa, 18th-generation head of the Tawaraya workshop. Opposite: Silk with hana-ikada (“flower raft”) motif, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; karaori (brocade with weft-float patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet.

personal expression; he would have to abandon his individual ego. His objective would be to faithfully manufacture the same products as his ancestors, becoming a link in a distinguished densho: a legacy passed down essentially unchanged, generation after generation. Kitagawa says that although his desire to enter the family business was far from strong at the time, he felt that it was his destiny to do so, and he began working with his father. Their working relationship involved a division of labor. While his father focused primarily on design, the most highly regarded skill in Nishijin silk production, Kitagawa managed the dyeing of yarns and the creation of weaving templates for looms that translated designs into finished textiles. Kitagawa says that only by living and working closely with his father and learning his thought processes, tastes, and criteria of evaluation, was he able to successfully realize his designs in woven form. Working in this manner over many years, he developed the technical proficiency and refined aesthetic sensibility that characterize Tawaraya. When Kitagawa was in his 40’s, his father felt that

Silk gauze with peony scroll pattern, Japan, Kyoto, 20th-century reproduction of 15th century original. Silk; ra-nishiki (complex gauze with continuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa, 写真提供/ 家庭画報国際版(世界文化社刊); photo by Kateigaho International (Sekai Bunka Publishing Inc.) .

his son had achieved the kansei required of the workshop head, and named him successor. Since his father’s death over twenty years ago, Kitagawa has painstakingly maintained the exacting techniques and standards passed down over many centuries. This exhibition includes fabrics woven under the supervision of Kitagawa, his father, and his grandfather, and all display a remarkably consistent aesthetic. While the design and technical execution of these textiles have varied little over time, Japanese society and culture have changed dramatically. As beautiful as Tawaraya’s yusoku orimono may be to the eye, Kitagawa fears that they are loosing their yo no bi—beauty in functionality—as their utility diminishes in modern Japanese life. Neither of Kitagawa’s two sons has trained to take over as the 19th-generation head of the Tawaraya silk workshop, so he may be the last of this illustrious line in textile production. Kitagawa nonetheless remains optimistic; both of his sons are pursuing creative careers, and he is confident that their work will carry Tawaraya’s distinguished artistic legacy into the 21st century.

Silk with karahana (“Chinese flowers”), birds, and flowering vines, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century reproduction of 12th-century original. Silk; nishiki (brocade). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Opposite: Uchigi (court robe) with hollyhocks and karahana (“Chinese flowers”), Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa.

Historical Reproductions from the Tawaraya Archives: From Kara-yo (Chinese style) to Wa-yo (Japanese style) in Silk Design The Tawaraya workshop produces textiles on commission, for sale on the open market, and for study and research purposes. Like many great artists and designers, leaders of Tawaraya study exemplary works of the past for knowledge and inspiration. Through their personal examination and recreation of ancient examples, Kitagawa and his father have enriched their own work and recovered weave structures lost over time. Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, the repositories of Japan’s oldest fabrics, also have commissioned Tawaraya to replicate some of their textile treasures (often fragmentary) for research and display. Fabrics from the workshop archives thus provide a colorful overview of early Japanese silk design and weaving techniques, and shed light on the emergence of a distinctly Japanese aesthetic in textile design. Japan’s greatest collection of jyodai-gire (ancient textiles) was preserved in the Shoso-in at Nara’s Todai Temple. The Shoso-in textiles date to the Nara period (710–794), when Japan was at the far end of the Silk Road, and lively exchange with Tang-dynasty China (618–907) and Korea brought seminal cultural innovations. Many of the Shoso-in treasures were the personal belongings of Emperor Shomu (701–756), whose wife donated them to Todai Temple after his death. Hundreds of objects that the emperor used in his daily life—including furniture, books, food vessels, musical instruments, and games as well as textiles—were care-

fully preserved in the temple storehouse for more than 1,200 years. Among the most precious textiles owned by Nara-period aristocrats were gossamer-thin silks woven in the ra (complex gauze) technique introduced from China. Because a skilled weaver could produce only about four inches of this fabric a day, ra was extremely costly, and eventually fell out of production. By studying ra fragments from the Shoso-in collection, Heiro Kitagawa was able to revive this staggeringly complex weave. He also assembled the surviving fragments of a rare karanishiki (“Chinese brocade”) to recreate this pattern in its entirety with flowering trees, Mt. Kunlun, and various animals (opposite above). Unusual in weave structure compared to other Shoso-in nishiki (brocades), this example has a ground warp and weft of beige silk with patterns created in six harness twill using polychrome wefts. His son Hyoji Kitagawa studied and reconstructed a late 8th-century aya kata-orimono (figured twill) in the Shoso-in collection, a project that required more than two years (opposite). Kitagawa made yarn-by-yarn transcriptions of the fabric on lined paper so that it could be recreated as precisely as possible, even including a design flaw that he discovered in the original. Nonetheless, Kitagawa says that it was impossible to create an exact replica. Although he dyed the yarns with an acorn dye like that used in the 8th century, today’s machine-spun Left: Silk with “round sliced melon” motif, Japan, Kyoto, 20thcentury reproduction of 13th-century original. Silk; futae-ori (weftfloat patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Opposite upper left: Mr. Kitagawa discusses his design for a reproduction of an 8th century figured twill. Opposite upper right: Silk with tigers, flowering tree, and mythical mountain, Japan, Kyoto, 20th-century reproduction of 8th-century original. Silk; jyodai-karanishiki (brocade). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Opposite: Silk with lion tamers and palm tree, Japan, Kyoto, 20th-century reproduction of 8th-century original. Silk; jyodai-aya kataorimono (figured twill). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet.

yarns are very even and uniform compared to the hand-spun originals, imparting a slightly different texture. He also surmised that the wefts of the 8thcentury example had been wetted before weaving, which straightened the yarns and made the cloth thinner, so he wove the fabric again following this method, creating a more lustrous fabric. The bold colors and patterns of Nara-period silks reflected international influences arriving in Japan via the Silk Road, a network of interlinking trade routes that transported luxury goods between Asia and Europe. Court ceremonies closely followed Chinese prototypes, and the aristocracy wore kara-yo (Chinese-style) clothing. The Heian period (794– 1185) saw the emergence of wa-yo—the Japanese

style—in garments and silk design. The fierce lions and tigers, dynamically posed human figures, and jewel colors of the Nara period gave way to softer shades and delicate bird and flower imagery. Kitagawa observes that across history, changes in textile techniques and designs have arisen from people’s changing desires, lifestyles, and intended uses for fabrics. During the Nara period, for example, aristocrats stood during court ceremonies, and the large patterns on their clothing could be read as coherent compositions. In the Heian period, architecture, aesthetics, and even people’s postures changed, giving rise to new styles. The Heian imperial court devised elegant, distinctively Japanese rituals, annual events, manners, Opposite: Gauze with karabana (stylized flower) pattern, Japan, Kyoto, 20th-century reproduction of 8th century original. Silk; ra (complex gauze). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; 写真提 供 / 家庭画報国際版(世界文化社刊); photo by Kateigaho International (Sekai Bunka Publishing Inc.) Left: Uchigi (court robe) with phoenixes and hollyhocks Japan, Kyoto, 20th-century reproduction of 13th-century original. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa.

cuisine, furnishings, and garments, all outlined in rules and formalities called yusoku. The colors, weaves, and patterns of silk indicated rank, and the prestigious textiles worn and used by the aristocracy became known as yusoku orimono—literally “restricted woven things.” Developing some of the most lavish costumes the world had ever seen, court ladies sometimes wore more than a dozen layers of thin silk robes, together with jackets, trousers, and apron-like skirts. The various colors of layered robes were carefully chosen to harmonize aesthetically and symbolically. The subtle color combinations for these multilayered ensembles could reflect the seasons, virtues, directions, and cosmological elements, all in relation to the natural world.

The design repertoire and aesthetic principles of Heian court textiles underpin the yusoku orimono woven today by the Tawaraya workshop. Although Heian fabrics of this type are known only through paintings and texts, some examples have survived from the subsequent Kamakura period (1185–1333). The oldest extant yusoku orimono is a 13th-century uchigi (court robe) in the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura. Woven in raw silk with a design of purple and green phoenixes, this exquisite summer garment has been painstakingly replicated by Tawaraya, and is considered one of the workshop’s greatest historical reproductions (above).

Japanese Imperial Costume

The Tawaraya workshop’s yusoku orimono offer a fascinating window into the rarefied world of Japanese court costume. The ceremonial robes worn by the Japanese Imperial Household maintain textile and design traditions that extend back to the Heian period, more than a thousand years ago. With their delicate bird and flower motifs, sophisticated color combinations, and seasonal sensitivity in pattern and weave structure, these court garments exemplify traditional Japanese aesthetic sensibilities and reflect a central theme in Japanese art and culture: the desire for harmony between humankind and nature. The Tawaraya workshop wove yusoku orimono to make the ceremonial robes worn by His Majesty the Emperor Akihito and Her Majesty the Empress Michiko for their coronation in 1989. For important occasions such as this, the highest ranking male courtiers, including the emperor, wear a type of attire called sokutai, which has changed very little since the 12th century. The silk used for the voluminous outer robe of the emperor’s sokutai ensemble, called a ho, features a design of phoenixes, kirin (a mythical animal), paulownia trees, and bamboo, a combination of auspicious patterns reserved exclusively for the emperor since the year 907. Whereas most yusoku orimono are woven with yarns dyed prior to weaving, the emperor’s robe is an example of ato-zome, a fabric woven first and then dyed. The silk was dyed a brownish-yellow using sappanwood (suo) and the Japanese wax tree (haji). Associated with the emperor since the year 820, this color was thought to resemble sunlight—of particular significance to the imperial family, which traditionally claimed descent from the Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu Omikami. The Tawaraya workshop created silks of this color and design in two different weave structures: aya (figured twill) for wear in winter and koku (complex gauze) for summer. The ueno-hakama (outer trousers) worn with the ho were woven in uki-ori (weft-float patterned plain weave) with butterfly and ka-mon (“sliced melon” medallions) against a checkerboard pattern called “arare,” meaning “hailstones.” Butterflies symbolize longevity in the East Asian tradition, and became

widespread motifs in Japanese court costume during the Heian period. The silk used to make a ho (outer robe) for Crown Prince Naruhito was dyed with gardenia fruit to create an orange color called oni or odan, also reminiscent of sunlight. Woven in aya (figured twill), the fabric depicts mandarin ducks in their nests, a motif associated with Japanese princes since at least the Kamakura period. The word for mandarin duck, oshidori, is a homonym for “take authority,” so these birds can symbolize wishes for increasing eminence. For ceremonial occasions, high-ranking female courtiers wear a multilayered ensemble called karaginu-mo, the prototypes of which date to Heian times. Today, this elaborate outfit is often referred to by the descriptive name junihitoe—“twelve unlined robes.” Like most Japanese court costume, the karaginu-mo eschews overtly extravagant materials such as gold and silver in favor of symbolically significant colors and patterns harmoniously juxtaposed layer upon layer.

Above left: Fabric for imperial kara-ginu (outer jacket). Above right: Fabric for imperial uwagi (inner robe), Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning), Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Opposite left: Fabric for Crown Princess’ wedding kara-ginu (outer jacket) with roundels on “tortoiseshell” background. Opposite right: Fabric for Crown Princess’ wedding uwagi (inner robe) with bird roundels and pine branch lozenges. Japan, Kyoto, 1993. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet.

The outermost garment is a karaginu—an unbelted, mid-thigh length jacket cut with wide, open sleeves to show the many robes worn underneath. The silk karaginu created for Empress Michiko’s coronation features roundels with paired cranes woven in purple against a white ground patterned with stylized hollyhocks (opposite left). Purple was considered to be the most noble of colors in traditional Japan, and the combination of purple and white is common in Japanese court costume. Cranes symbolize longevity and good fortune, while hollyhocks have been closely associated with the Japanese aristocracy since Heian times. This combination of cranes and hollyhocks is reserved exclusively for the Empress. Worn directly under the karaginu is the uwagi, a garment also cut very large to accommodate many layers of under-kimono. For her coronation, Empress Michiko wore a light green uwagi patterned with stylized birch leaves (opposite right). The Tawaraya workshop wove the silks for the Empress’ karaginu and uwagi in the futae-ori (“double layer weave”) technique. A compound weave with two weft sets, futae-ori allows the juxtaposition of two designs: weft-float patterns on the ground fabric, overlaid with discontinuous supplementary wefts in a contrasting color and motif. Garments like those described above are also worn during the Shinto wedding ceremonies held for imperial family members. In 1993, the Tawaraya

workshop supplied the silks used to make the wedding robes worn by Crown Prince Naruhito and his bride Crown Princess Masako. For her wedding, Crown Princess Masako wore an emerald green karaginu featuring ka-mon (“sliced melon” medallions) on a background of continuous hexagons, called the kikko or “tortoiseshell” motif. Underneath her karaginu, she wore a yellow uwagi patterned with roundels depicting phoenixes holding flower sprigs in their beaks, set against a field of stylized pine branches. Associated with Mount Horai, the Daoist paradise, this combination of motifs is widespread in the decoration of bridal garments. Crown Princess Masako’s elaborate wedding ensemble, comprising many layers of silk kimono, weighed more than thirty pounds. Uchigi are the colorful robes worn underneath karaginu and uwagi. On less formal occasions, uchigi might constitute the final layers in female court costume. During the early Heian period, Opposite left: Fabric for Empress’ coronation kara-ginu (outer jacket fabric) with small hollyhocks and paired cranes. Opposite right: Fabric for Empress’ coronation uwagi (inner robe) with white birch pattern, Japan, Kyoto, 1989. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Below: Fabric for Crown Prince’s winter oni-no-ho (ceremonial outer robe), Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; aya (figured twill). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet.

court ladies sometimes wore between ten and forty uchigi at a time, but a sumptuary law issued in 1074 limited the number to five. The exhibition includes several complete uchigi, as well as yardage used to make uchigi for Empress Michiko and Crown Princess Masako. In creating yusoku orimono, the Tawaraya workshop typically uses rather stiff warp yarns that retain some sericin (the gelatinous protein secreted by silkworms), but the weft yarns are more thoroughly degummed and thus more supple. Tawaraya prefers fine silk yarns of around twenty-one deniers (a unit of weight used for fibers). When recreating historical fabrics, however, the workshop may utilize yarns weighing between fifty and sixty deniers to more closely match the less degummed, handspun, and thus heavier yarns common in the past.

The Tawaraya workshop weaves yusoku orimono using five main techniques: uki-ori, aya, and futae-ori (described above); usu-ori (gauze weaves, such as ra and koku); and nishiki (brocade with continuous supplementary wefts), a heavy fabric used primarily for furnishings. While Tawaraya still weaves some silks by hand on Jacquard looms, most are made on looms especially designed by Kitagawa to allow a combination of hand and power weaving. While the patterns on yusoku orimono originally came to Japan from China and Korea during the Nara period, Japanese artists transformed them into uniquely native expressions. As evidenced by the textiles in the exhibition, yusoku patterns include medallions depicting stylized flowers, plants, birds, and insects; ogival lozenges; scrolling vines and

arabesques; interlocking circles; hexagonal tortoiseshell patterns; and checkerboard designs, among others. Although some of these motifs remain the prerogative of the Imperial family, the yusoku patterns have provided a rich design source for many generations of Japanese artists. Kitagawa points out that the colors of yusoku orimono should be elegant and subdued, and emphasizes that maintaining overall harmony between the layers of color, texture, and pattern is more important than the specific motifs depicted on the fabrics. In 1999, Kitagawa was named a Living National Treasure for his knowledge and preservation of yusoku orimono, a textile tradition stretching back more than 1,200 years.

Above left: Fabric for Emperor’s summer go-ho (ceremonial outer robe) , Japan, Kyoto, 1989. Silk; koku (complex gauze). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; Photo by Renee Comet. Above right: Fabric for Empress’ uchigi with cranes and pine branches, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; Photo by Renee Comet. Opposite: Fabric for Empress’ uchigi (court robe) with white birch and flower lozenges, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; Photo by Renee Comet.

Tawaraya Textiles Beyond the Imperial Court The Tawaraya workshop receives commissions to create finely woven silks for secular and religious institutions across Japan. Tawaraya was asked to produce textiles for the 61st Shikinen-sengu, the rite of reconstruction held every twenty years at the Ise Grand Shrine. The 61st Shikinen-sengu took place in 1993, but preparations began eight years earlier. Dedicated to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami (Heaven-Illuminating Great Deity) and the Goddess of Grains Toyouke Omikami (Abundant Food Great Deity), the Ise Grand Shrine is one of Japan’s holiest sites, and its high priest or priestess must be a member of the Imperial family. In line with Shinto beliefs regarding purification and renewal, the main shrine sanctuaries are rebuilt on an adjacent site every twenty years, and the treasures dedicated to the deities and housed in the shrines—including textiles, a loom, jewelry, and weapons—are replaced with newly-made examples. This custom has allowed the transmittal of ritual traditions and craft techniques from one generation to the next over many centuries. Although Tawaraya typically sources raw silk from abroad, the textiles for the Ise Grand Shrine must be made from materials produced in Japan, so for these the workshop obtains high-quality silk from Gunma Prefecture. The looms used to make the silks for the Ise Grand Shrine are draped with shimenawa and shide, rice-straw ropes and zigzag paper streamers that demarcate a sacred or pure space (right). Only fabrics intended for use at the Ise Grand Shrine are woven on these special looms. In 2005, the Tawaraya workshop was commissioned to weave fine silks used in decorating the Kyoto State Guest House. Built in the traditional Japanese style on the grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, the Guest House accommodates distinguished visitors from abroad, including heads of state. The Kyoto State Guest House project brought together some of Japan’s most renowned masters of various media—including ceramics, woodworking, and lacquer, as well as textiles—to showcase the finest in contemporary Japanese art and design. The Textile Museum exhibition includes an exquisite uchigi created for display in the Kyoto

State Guest House (opposite). Woven in the kenmonsha futae-ori technique (complex gauze with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning), this uchigi features a design of stylized Dianthus flowers against a geometric background.

Above top: A weaver at a jacquard loom in the Tawaraya Workshop. Above: Loom for weaving silks used at Ise Grand Shrine. Opposite: Uchigi (court robe) with Dianthus flowers (“pinks”), made for the Kyoto State Guest House, Kyoto, Japan, 21st century. Silk; kenmonsha futae-ori (patterned gauze with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa.

The Tawaraya workshop is well-known for producing sumptuous silks used in Noh theater costume. Combining mime, dance, music, verse, and prose, Noh performances generally feature austere stage sets, contrasted with elaborately carved masks and lavish costumes. Noh shozoku (costumes) tell the audience a great deal about the characters, communicating their age, gender, occupation, social status, and personality. Kara-ori refers to a technique—a twill weave with long weft floats resembling embroidery—as well as a type of costume used in Noh drama. The exhibition includes a Noh robe woven in kara-ori with a design of grapes and arabesques rendered in richly polychrome silk and shimmering gold threads. This garment would have been worn by a female character and the bright red color served to indicate her youth. Also in the exhibition are two lengths of fabric for Noh costumes, both woven in the kara-ori technique. One of these, hand woven under the supervision of Kitagawa’s grandfather, depicts colorful, flower-decked rafts (hana ikada) floating on a stream—a lyrical motif closely associated with the Tawaraya workshop. While Noh theater remains a dynamic art form in Japan, Kitagawa acknowledges that the demand for yusoku orimono is steadily waning. Ideally, a Living National Treasure should pass on his skills to the next generation, but Kitagawa, realizing inherent financial challenges, has not pressured his sons to take over the family business. He says that although silks with yusoku patterns will remain in

production in the future, they likely will be superficial imitations; the essence of true yusoku orimono, with its erudite refinement and subtlety, may die with him. Nonetheless, he hopes that the elegance of yusoku orimono, a unique manifestation of the Japanese spirit, will find new expressive outlets in modern Japan, and that in their creative careers his sons will perpetuate the standards of artistic excellence that have distinguished the Tawaraya workshop for generations. Lee Talbot, Curator Eastern Hemisphere Collections

Opposite above: Uchigi (court robe) with stylized willow and cherry blossoms, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa. Opposite below: Silk with wisteria pattern, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; kara-ori (brocade with weft-float patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Below left: Silk with peonies and vine scrolls for use at the Ise Grand Shrine. Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; yamato-nishiki (brocade). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet. Below right: Silk with flower and butterfly lozenges for use at the Ise Grand Shrine. Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; kara-nishiki (brocade). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet.

Public Programs For the most up-to-date list of exhibition related programs and events, please visit Sign up online or at our front desk for the museum’s eFriend’s newsletter to receive program information by email. Fees for programs and workshops vary. Advance registration is required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64 to register. Below: Fabric for Empress’ uchigi with cranes and pine branches, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century. Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning). Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa; photo by Renee Comet.

Pm @ The Tm Thursday, april 26, 6-9 p.m. Celebrate spring and Japanese culture at the year’s first “PM @ The TM” happy hour! Bring a blanket or your tatami mat and enjoy drinks, food and a film screening in The Textile Museum’s lovely gardens. Venture indoors for gallery talks, a craft activity and to explore the current exhibition. Presented in partnership with The Pink Line Project. $15; includes 1 complementary drink (members receive 2 drinks). For event updates, visit

FrEE arTs For FamiliEs Programs make a Japanese Fish Print saturday, april 28, 2–4 Pm Gyotaku (Japanese from gyo “fish” + taku “rubbing”) is a traditional form of Japanese printing using fish, first used by fishermen to record their catches. Today gyotaku is also practiced as a form of art, and is very popular among young children in Japan. Create your own print on fabric with textile paint and rubber fish. Paint clothes suggested, fishing license not required. Free; no reservations required. create a Japanese Painting saturday, July 7, 2–4 Pm Japanese ink painting emphasizes simplicity and harmony with nature by capturing the essence of an object with the fewest brushstrokes. Create your own nature-inspired ink painting with sumi ink and bamboo brushes on Japanese rice paper. Paint clothes suggested. Free; no reservations required.

Dye Your own Pillowcase saturday, august 4, 2–4 Pm Shibori is the Japanese art of resist dyeing. Come wrap, twist, fold, and stitch your way to a good night’s sleep by making your own indigo dyed pillowcase. Various shibori techniques will be demonstrated including typical tie-dye; Arashi shibori, a polewrapping technique; Kumo shibori, pleat and bond resist technique; and Itajime shibori, a shape-resist technique where the cloth is folded like an accordion and sandwiched between two pieces of wood. The creative possibilities are endless! Paint clothes suggested. Free; no reservations required.

luNcHTimE gallErY TalK learning from a living National Treasure Wednesday, July 18, 12 Pm Lee Talbot, Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections

LECTURES Japan’s Noh Costumes: An American Appreciation Thursday, April 12, 6 PM As the cherry trees given by Tokyo in 1912 took root in Washington, D.C., American collectors and museums were growing enchanted by the costumes of Japan’s poetic Noh theater. Join Joyce Denney, Assistant Curator for the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as she introduces this exceptional art form and traces the early years of collecting Noh costumes in the United States. Fee: $20/ members; $25/non-members. Advance registration required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64 to register. This lecture has been funded in part by The Textile Museum docents. Ai: The Japanese Love of Indigo Thursday, May 10, 6 PM The Japanese term ai (pronounced “i”) can mean either “love” or “indigo.” Join Sharon S. Takeda, Senior Curator and Head of the Department of Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, for an illustrated lecture on the history, popularity, and practicality of Japanese indigo-dyed textiles. See craftspeople in their studios practicing age-old techniques and find out why indigo-dyed clothing is thought to repel snakes. Fee: $20/members;$25/nonmembers. Advance registration is required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64 to register.

Omoshirogara: Novelty Textile Designs in Early Modern Japan Thursday, June 21, 6 PM Join textile historian Jacqueline Atkins in a visual exploration of omoshirogara, the novelty textile designs that reflected the rapidly changing culture of early modern Japan. The presentation will showcase the creativity of textile artists in reflecting trends in popular and visual culture from the early 1900s through the 1930s. Fee: $20/members; $25/nonmembers. Advance registration required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64 to register. The Tawaraya Workshop of Kyoto, Japan Thursday, July 12, 6 PM Lee Talbot, Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections, will discuss his first-hand experience at one of Japan’s oldest silk weaving workshops, the 500-yearold Tawaraya. Talbot will discuss the history and output of this illustrious workshop as well as the life story of its 18th-generation head, Mr. Hyoji Kitagawa, who was designated a Living National Treasure in 1999. Fee: $20/members and $25/non-members. Advance registration required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64 to register.

WORKSHOPS Japanese Embroidery: Cherry Blossoms along the Tidal Basin Sunday, April 15 (Part I) 1:30–4:30 PM Sunday, April 22, (Part II) 1:30–4:30 PM Join certified Japanese embroidery teacher Tonie Evans for this entry level adult class, where you will complete a delicate design with soft, textured stitches on fine silk. Demonstrations and background on the embroidery of Japan enrich this workshop. Fee (includes instruction sheets and most materials): $65/members; $75/non-members. Advance registration required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64 to register.

Kimono Care and Display Saturday, July 28, 10:30 AM–4:30 PM. Learn how to properly care for, store, and display a variety of Japanese kimono and other traditional garments with Midori Sato, independent textile conservator based in New York and formerly a conservator with the Metropolitian Museum of Art; and Kristine Kamiya, Associate Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fee: $65/members; $75/non-members. Advance registration required; space is limited. Call (202) 667-0441, ext. 64.

Woven Treasures of Japan’s Tawaraya Workshop is a part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C., March 20–April 27, 2012

VISITOR INFORMATION Location 2320 S Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.’s historic Dupont-Kalorama neighborhood.

Accessibility The Textile Museum is wheelchair accessible. Please call (202) 667-0441, ext. 35 for more information.

Metro Red Line, Dupont Circle, Q Street Exit.

Membership Members of The Textile Museum enjoy many benefits: a 10% TM Shop discount, the quarterly Members’ Magazine, special rates for programs, and invitations to opening receptions. Visit or call (202) 667-0441, ext. 17.

Museum And Shop Hours Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays, federal holidays and December 24. Arthur D. Jenkins Library Reading Room Hours Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday 12 to 4 p.m. Admission Suggested donation of $8 for non-members. Tours Highlights Tours, offered each Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., feature selections from the different exhibitions on view. No reservations are required. Docent-Guided Exhibition Tours for groups of 6 to 40 may be scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays after 10:15 a.m., and Thursdays after 1:30 p.m. To schedule a guided exhibition tour, call (202) 667-0441, ext. 65 at least four weeks in advance. Museum Shop The Textile Museum Shop—hailed as one of Washington, D.C.’s best museum stores—offers a unique array of handmade textiles, jewelry, books, gifts, and other merchandise created by contemporary textile artists from around the world. For more information, call (202) 667-0441, ext. 29; shop online anytime at

Support The Textile Museum The Textile Museum relies on support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and grants to sustain its educational programs, exhibitions, collections care, and scholarship activities. To make a donation to support The Textile Museum’s work today and for the next generation, visit about/support.htm. TM Online Visit for information on current exhibitions, upcoming public programs, and to sign up for The Textile Museum’s monthly e-newsletter. Cover: Silk with go-kamon (“five round sliced melon”) motif Japan, Kyoto, 20th century, Silk; yamato-nishiki (brocade) Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa, Photo by Renee Comet. Back cover: Fabric for Princess Kazuno-miya’s winter uchigi (court robe), Japan, Kyoto, 20th-century reproduction of 19th century original, Silk; futae-ori (weft-float patterned ground with discontinuous supplementary weft patterning) Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa. Photo by Renee Comet. Opposite: Noh costume, Japan, Kyoto, 20th century, Silk, gold-wrapped yarns; kara-ori (brocade with weft-float patterning on a twill ground), Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa.

Exhibition support is generously provided by the following:



2320 S St, NW, Washington, DC 20008 | (202) 667-0441 | ©The Textile Museum

Woven Treasures Gallery Guide  

Gallery guide for Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop, on view at The Textile Museum in Washington DC from March 23 through August...

Woven Treasures Gallery Guide  

Gallery guide for Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop, on view at The Textile Museum in Washington DC from March 23 through August...