A Good Length of Shifu: Paper Weft Yarn and Indigo Dyed Cotton Warp

$395.00 USD

late nineteenth, early twentieth century
48" x 13 3/4", 122 cm x 35 cm

This slubby and richly textured length of cloth is woven from an indigo dyed cotton warp and a paper yarn weft. Cloth that is woven with a paper weft yarn is referred to as shifu.

This is an especially generously-sized length of shifu and is quite desirable for this quality.

The weft yarns are made of hand twisted, paper yarn and washi, or mulberry fiber paper, was used as the material to create the finely wrought weft yarns woven into this length.

It might seem that paper yarn is fragile when the opposite is true.

The bast fibers used to make paper are very long so the paper is extremely pliable and durable. Washi can be crumpled and ironed, it can be twisted and plaited into string or rope, shifu can be easily washed like any other woven cloth: it is an inherently strong material. 

A characteristic of shifu is that it is unusually light in weight because the density of paper yarns is less than of cotton or hemp yarns: when held in the hand this quality is quite evident.

The length was taken from a futon cover and along the selvedge area there are warp-based breaks to the cloth which can be seen in the detail photos attached here. There is a mending patch as well which is illustrated in the detail photos here.

As you can imagine shifu is not easy to come by and as stated above a length of this good size is something wonderful to own.