Oshima Tsumugi Kimono Silk Bolt
This is a stunning and unusually long bolt of Oshima tsumugi ( 大島紬). Probably dating from around the 1970s or 80s. It measures 37cm x approx 17 m so would originally have been intended for a kimono and haori ensemble. Definitely enough for a very special dress or coat. Probably late 20th century. Oshima tsumugi is one of Japan's finest and most famous dyeing and weaving traditions. It originated and continues to be produced on Anami Oshima island in Kagoshima. The silk is traditionally dyed in very iron rich mud and has a beautiful lustre, I usually associate Oshima with brown men's kimono silk but they produce other colours as well and this woman's kimono silk is a rich burnt orange and black and has a crisp slightly stiff feel. For the technically minded there is plenty of information online describing the very complex weaving process which creates the intricate ikat patterns of Oshima. Tsumugi generally refers to raw or waste silk and often has a slub but this bolt is perfectly smooth. It is a slightly paradoxical that despite being one of the most expensive silks to buy, because of it's tsumugi status it isn't traditionally considered suitable for formal wear.
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