A Length of Extra Fine Hemp or Ramie Cloth: Joufu
late nineteenth century
41" x 12 1/4", 104 cm x 31 cm
In old Japan hemp or ramie fibers were sometimes woven as fine as silk, and the resulting extra-fine quality cloth was called joufu. There are a few centers of joufu production in Japan that are very well-known: in Echigo, in Miyako (Okinawa) and in Oumi, Shiga prefecture, where this piece was most likely woven.
It is beautiful in color, in its fine texture and its complex double kasuri pattern. The repeat shows plum blossoms, pine trees, well covers and birds, among other motifs. The ground is crowded with resist woven images which are elegantly arranged.
The indigo dye has softened over time and its faded tone enhances the delicacy of this fine asa cloth which is in good, used condition.
Really beautiful, and wonderful textile from old Japan.