A Length of Shirakage Shibori: Tortoiseshell
ca. early to mid twentieth century
28 1/2" x 13 1/2", 72.25 cm x 34.25 cm
Shirakage or shirokage shibori is one of the most difficult techniques to master, and here we see a very clean, clear and beautifully dyed fragment of this kind of resist dyed cotton.
The repeat hexagon image, a depiction of tortoise shell, is first stitched into the cotton. Any part of the cloth which is meant to remain white must be hidden from the dye bath when it is submerged--and the entire piece of cloth is dyed, so great care must be taken to never let the intended white areas of cloth to come into contact with the dye bath. The process of hiding the white areas is too lengthy to get into here, but suffice it to say that anyone who has attempted to master shibori dyeing can attest to the great skill and patience needed to achieve a bright white surface when doing the shirakage tecnhnique.
This is a wonderful length of cloth, and with the exception of ingrained creases, it is in very bright condition, with a good, rich indigo color still very present.