Saturday 8 August 2009

Articles from Needleprint Nihon

It is very exciting that now with Needleprint Nihon and Needleprint France we can look forward to postings from the editors in Japan and France. Today we have news of an exhibition at the Kobe Fashion Museum and I shall post that later. But first let's have a glimpse at the history of Japanese embroidery that Saho Nogi has given us:

Japanese embroidery originates in India, and was brought through the Silk Road by the Chinese. When Buddhism was first introduced in the 6th century CE, so was embroidery, in the form of Shubutsu - Embroidered Buddha, and it became widely known in the Asuka era (end of 6th -8th centuries). In the Heian era, embroidery was applied as decorations on men's sashes and Juu-no hitoe - 12 layered women's kimono - click here to see the robing in 12 kimonos. In the Azuchi-momoyama era (c1568-1603), the embroidery began to be used not just for expressing patterns, but as a part of a wider range of decoration in combination with various dyeing techniques.

In the middle of the Edo era (1603-1867), the wealthy townspeople invented various methods for combining dye techniques with embroidery, and produced kimonos which were so elaborate and expensive that the government issued a ban on 'excessive luxury'; but to no avail. Japanese embroidery continued to flourish throughout the Edo era and the embroidery is inherited to this day.

Picture provided by the courtesy of kakitutei - Nagi no ryokouki -(Webmaster:
Nagi-san), from the article on her visit to Simogamo Shrine

By Saho Nogi


  1. That's fascinating! I didn't know any of that - thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. What a great blog, not sure how I have missed you before! I am so pleased to see both this and the Needleprint Nihon site and am looking forward to more articles on traditional Japanese embroidery. I'm a student of Japanese embroidery based in the UK.