Yomitanzan-hanaori textiles Photo:Okinawa Convention&Visitors Bureau

Yomitanzan-hanaori textiles Yomitanzan hanaori

The complex processes create the pretty flower patterns.
An exquisite textile discovered by the royal family during the Ryukyu Royal Kingdom period.

Description

It is not clear when the production of Yomitanzan Hanaori first started. However, it is considered that the production of the textile started sometime in the 15th century. The Ryukyu Royal Kingdom was actively trading with China and the Southeast Asian countries so various overseas products and technologies were brought to Ryukyu. It was said that Yomitanzan Hanaori was also brought from south Asia at about the same time. The textile was designated as the official product of the Ryukyu Royal government because of the extravagant design and the weaving technique was improved further. It takes a time-consuming effort to weave the fine flower patterns; therefore it was so valuable that only the royal family, the noblemen and the people in Yomitanson were allowed to wear Yomitanzan Hanaori. The class system was abolished in the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) together with the abolition of feudal domains and the establishment of prefectures. With these facts as the background, the production of textiles also declined. However, as people had almost forgotten about the weaving techniques, a movement to revive the Hanaori technique was started by enthusiasts. In 1964, Yomitanizan Hanori came to life again for the first time in 90 years.

History

Yomitanzan-hanaori textiles - History Photo:Okinawa Convention&Visitors Bureau

It is not clear when the production of Yomitanzan Hanaori first started. However, it is considered that the production of the textile started sometime in the 15th century. The Ryukyu Royal Kingdom was actively trading with China and the Southeast Asian countries so various overseas products and technologies were brought to Ryukyu. It was said that Yomitanzan Hanaori was also brought from south Asia at about the same time. The textile was designated as the official product of the Ryukyu Royal government because of the extravagant design and the weaving technique was improved further. It takes a time-consuming effort to weave the fine flower patterns; therefore it was so valuable that only the royal family, the noblemen and the people in Yomitanson were allowed to wear Yomitanzan Hanaori. The class system was abolished in the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) together with the abolition of feudal domains and the establishment of prefectures. With these facts as the background, the production of textiles also declined. However, as people had almost forgotten about the weaving techniques, a movement to revive the Hanaori technique was started by enthusiasts. In 1964, Yomitanizan Hanori came to life again for the first time in 90 years.

General Production Process

Yomitanzan-hanaori textiles - General Production Process Photo:Okinawa Convention&Visitors Bureau

  1. 1. Design The design of geometric patterns is prepared on a graph paper. Each pattern is drawn in a different color using colored pencils. Ojiana (fan-shaped flower), Kajimayabana (pinwheel-shaped flower) and Jinbana (Rhododendron) are the basic individual patterns and they are combined with checked and striped patterns to make geometric patterns. The basic number of individual patterns come to a total of approximately 30 different kinds, including the above three patterns and other arranged patterns.
  2. 2. The Kasuri Kukuri (Kasuri tie-dye) Before the silk threads are dyed, the places where they should not be dyed are tied with cotton threads. Cotton threads are used because the fiber in cotton threads shrinks when they are wet so the dye does not permeate inside. The threads are tied according to the design and dyed. The dye is extracted from local plants, including Ryukyu Ai (indigo), Kuru (China root), Sharinbai (Umbellata) and Fukugi (happiness tree). The Ryukyu Ai dye comes out as a deep navy blue and Fukugi dye comes out yellow.
  3. 3. The Itokuri (winding the threads) The dyed threads are wound around the Kase (bobbins).
  4. 4. Warping The length and the width of the threads are arranged for a roll of Kimono textile. The standard width of the kimono material requires 28 threads to weave 1cm. If this process is not done precisely, the threads become slack and the patterns do not appear correctly when they are woven so this is very important work.
  5. 5. The Kari Osa Doshi (temporarily putting threads through reed) The dyed threads are put through to the fine grooves of the Osa (reed) one by one. The colored threads and the Jiito (foundation threads) are positioned according to the design. This reed is removed when the actual weaving starts so this process is referred to as the Kari Osa Doshi (temporarily putting threads through reed).
  6. 6. The Tatemaki (winding the warp) The warp threads that were set on the Osa are wound while the tension in the threads is carefully adjusted. The tension is very important in this process so the strength to wind the threads should be even at all times. The state of the Jiito and the colored threads, which are dyed differently, is adjusted in this process. This is also an important process that determines the quality of the finished textile.
  7. 7. The Soko Doshi (putting threads through the heddle) The Kari Osa is removed and the warp threads are put through the Soko (heddle). The Soko is a part of a loom that moves the threads up and down to let the weft threads through. The threads are put through differently depending on the method of weaving.
  8. 8. The Hana Soko Kake (putting the threads through the Hana Soko) After the previous process, the threads are also put though the Hana Soko one by one. The flower patterns are adjusted here.
  9. 9. The Kasuri Wake (untying the Kasuri threads) The Kasuri threads that are tied to the weft threads are removed in this process. Then, the threads are wound around the bobbins and put through the shuttle, which is a device that delivers the weft threads.
  10. 10. Weaving The Hana Soko for weaving the flower pattern moves up and down as the treadle is moved by foot and the shuttle with the weft threads is passed across to weave. The patterns on the threads are adjusted while being woven so it requires great patience and it may take two months to weave a roll of Yomitanizan Hanori.

Where to Buy & More Information

Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum

Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum