The History and Diversity of Kasuri(lkat)
The biginning of Kasuri(Ikat) textiles is unknown, but as one of the oldest ikat cloths, there is a fragment of cloth called “Taishi-Kanto” still extant in Japan. It is said that tha cloth was brought to Japan through trade with South East Asia in the Asuka Period.
The theory that India was the origin of ikat cloth is confirmed by vivid mural paintings in Ajanta in India. Figures painted in the 5 th-7th centuries A.D. seem to wear tie-dyed Ikat cloth. Indian textiles were exported to South East Asia and introduced to Okinawa and Japan via trade with these areas.
On the other hand, the flow flom India to Central Asia and then Europe can also be traced. Tradition is built on indigenous materials and dyes as well as piled clistinctive designs all over the world.
Kasuri is named after a Japanese word that indicates hazy edges of patterns of ikat cloth. Ikat is an international term for kasuri cloth and originated from mengikat(tie or bind) in the Malay language. It clearly expresses special features of ikati cloth. The process of ikat weaving is common in the world including the tying of yarn for ikat patterns before dyeing, dyeing, and making patterns by adjusting dyed and non-dyed parts of yarns when weaving. Warp ikat. weft ikat. and double ikat are major Kasuri styles.
Looking into the Kasuri world is enjoyable. We can appreciate its history, diversity, unlimited designs and materials, etc. Kasuri being used in people’s living such as in ceremonies and religions is truly charming.
Curator, Haebaru Bunka Center
It is unknown from where Kasuri(Ikat) cloth was introduced into Okinawa. Once known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa had flourished through trade with surroundng areas such as China, Korea, South East Asia, ando Japan from the 14 th to the 15 th century. It is possible that ikat techniques were brought here with other trade items.
The rapid development of Ryukyu Kasuri was encouraged by the neccessity of fostering domestic industries due to the decline of transit trade and a targeted market as metropolotan Edo grew during a long period of peace and tranquility. Since the invasion of the Satsuma clan to Ryukyu. The process of Kasuri (as tribute) production such as spinning, dyeing, and pattern selection was under severe supervision.
The production of Kasuri textiles as formal clothing for ordinary peoole started after the abolition of the taxation imposed on textiles at thebiginning of the Meiji Period. When the demand for these textiles rapidly increased weabing was introduced to Haebaru from Naha as a sub-contracting system employing freelance weavers working at home. Before long, Hebaru developed as one of the major Kasuri weaving centers with a labor division system separated into yarn-tying, dyeing, weabing, and other sections.
Kasuri cloth became popular beacause people loved spatial Ryukyu Kasuri that had unrestricted style created by the “ti-yui” technigue in which both the warp and weft yarns are staggered as well as a splendid atmosphere of Kasuri that is defferent from any other dyed or woven cloth.
Curator, Okinawa Prefectural Museum
The process of Manufacturling Ryukyu Kasuri
|Name of Association||Ryukyu-kasuri (Ryukyu Ikat) Cooperative Association|
|Address||157 Motobu, Haebaru-town, Okinawa 901-1112, Japan|
|Number of Members||59（2011/4）|
|Number of Officers||Administration officer：11 / Auditor2人|