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Textile, 2014

This is a Textile. It was made by Hitome Takahashi and dyed by Kenji Hatori. It is dated 2014 and we acquired it in 2014. Its medium is cotton and its technique is plain weave patterned with tied resist dyeing (shibori), indigo dyed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Shibori, the art of tied-resist dyeing, has been practiced for centuries in and around the village of Arimatsu, Japan. In the Edo period, the height of trade along the Tōkkaidō road, the area supported thousands of shibori workers with a variety of specialties, from designing and stenciling to stitching and binding to indigo dyeing. Ukiyo-e prints of the late 18th century show the village storefronts festooned with shibori fabrics; some of those stores are still there.
Today, only a few dozen skilled shibori artisans survive in the region. While traveling there in June of this year, I had the opportunity to commission pieces from three local artisans: two shibori binders and one indigo dyer. The first design is an example of hidatori kumo or spiderweb. The delicate tracery is the result of setting the bindings very close together, leaving an almost undyed ground. It requires exceptional mastery and a great deal of time. This piece was tied by Mrs. Hitome Takahashi, who was born in 1930 in Kanagawa prefecture. She was a student of Mrs. Homma, the only shibori artist to have achieved Living National Treasure status.
The second design alternates the kumo spiderwebs with simple ne maki shibori or base-wound rings, creating a dynamic diagonal striped pattern of alternating dark and light areas. It was tied by Mrs. Makiko Hotta, who was born in Tokoname in 1954.
Both pieces were dyed in a naturally fermented indigo bath by Mr. Kenji Hattori, born in Arimatsu in 1963. He is a 9th generation indigo dyer. Both pieces were left partially tied, to provide a clear, visual demonstration of the process. Both were produced on cotton kimono-width cloth of the type for which Arimatsu is famous.

This object was donated by Barbara Shapiro. It is credited Gift of Barbara Shapiro.

  • Textile
  • silk.
  • Gift of Alan L. Wolfe.
  • 1961-115-35

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 114.3 × 14 × 7.6 cm (45 × 5 1/2 × 3 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, 2014; Made by Hitome Takahashi (Japanese, b. 1930); Dyed by Kenji Hatori (Japanese, b. 1963); cotton; H x W x D: 114.3 × 14 × 7.6 cm (45 × 5 1/2 × 3 in.); Gift of Barbara Shapiro; 2014-50-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, 2014 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=31 May 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>