World Heritage

Echigo-jofu: Traditional Textile of the Snow Country

04-20-2015

Echigo-jofu: Traditional Textile
of the Snow Country

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Echigo-jofu is a traditional textile of the Echigo region (present-day Niigata Prefecture), one of the snowiest areas on Japan’s main island of Honshu. The technique for making this famous fabric, which has been handed down over more than 1,200 years, was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009. Mr. Masanori Nagumo is the director of the Shiozawa Tsumugi Pavilion, which carries on traditional crafts, publicizes them, and trains successors. IHCSA Café asked him about this internationally recognized technique, of which Japan is quite rightly very proud.

Textile Culture Developed in the Snow Country

Among the existing textile fabrics, the Japanese have had a close relationship with hemp since ancient times. Cotton did not become commonplace until the Edo period (1603–1868). There was silk, of course, but that expensive fabric was way out of reach for most ordinary folk. Hemp fabrics spread throughout the country and diversified, but it was in the Shiozawa district of Niigata Prefecture that a traditional and completely hand-woven technique was developed and passed down from generation to generation right up to the present, turning out fabrics of exceptionally high quality. Read more…

 

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