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TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

Yamagata Niigata

Uetsu Shinafu

Uetsu Shinafu

Woven textiles

In Japan, we made thread with fiber which we took out of the trees and plants such as course (we die), Paper mulberry (we ask), elm (similar), wisteria (wisteria), kudzu (waste), ramie (choma) which grew wild distantly in the fields and mountains from Jomon and Yayoi period and we finished weaving on cloth as private use and used to clothes or accessories.

In Japan, ever since the Jomon and Yayoi periods, people have made thread from fiber derived from plants and trees that grow naturally in the mountains such as Japanese linden, mulberry, elm, wisteria, kudzu, and ramie, and used this thread to weave fabric and make clothing and ornaments for private home use.

Niigata

Shiozawa Tsumugi

Shiozawa Pongee

Woven textiles

The history of Woven textiles of Shiozawa production center of Niigata is old, and our local hemp cloth (current fine linen) woven in the Nara era is stored in Shoso-in of Nara.

The history of weaving in the Shiozawa area is very long and an example of a linen cloth--now Echigo linen--woven during the Nara period (710-794) is preserved in the Shosoin Repository in Nara. The skills and techniques used to weave this linen cloth were adopted for the weaving of a silk cloth that became Shiozawa Tsumugi and was first woven during the Edo period (1600-1868).

Niigata

Ojiya Chijimi

Ojiya Ramie Crepe

Woven textiles

The history of hemp cloth in Ojiya is old, and trace of the texture is left to earthenware vessel thought to be last part of Jomon period.

The history of linen weaving in Ojiya goes back a very long time. A piece of pottery which is thought to have been made at the end of the Jomon period (ca.10000-ca.200 BC) has been discovered bearing the imprint of some woven fabric. Well suited to the climate of Ojiya, woven linen was valued highly and was presented to the Shogun.

Niigata

Ojiya Tsumugi

Ojiya Pongee

Woven textiles

Silk pongee thing was founded with sericulture that began in the middle of Edo era. Late in the Edo era, it was production center as raw silk merchant visited business talk from prosperous place of Woven textiles of Joshu or Kyoto equal to current Gunma.

Pongee was first produced here in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), when sericulture began. By the end of the same era, production had increased to such an extent that silk merchants came to do business from places which had their own flourishing weaving industry such as Kyoto and Joshu, the area that now corresponds to present-day Gunma prefecture.

Niigata

Hon Shiozawa

Shiozawa Fabrics

Woven textiles

Hon Shiozawa was got close to in the name of "Shiozawa sho" (meal) in representative Woven textiles of Shiozawa production center with Shiozawa Tsumugi widely until now.

Along with Shiozawa Tsumugi, Honshiozawa is a representative cloth from the Shiozawa area and has been well known by the name Shiozawa Omeshi for some time past. Its origins are said to date back to the middle of the 18th century and similarly to the crepe from Echigo, it is a silk crepe with a characteristic crimp, which makes use of linen weaving techniques.

Niigata

Tokamachi Gasuri

Tokamachi Ikat

Woven textiles

It becomes established theory that it is the early 18th century that cloth with splashed pattern technology of cotton crepe colonized.

It seems likely that Echigo Chijimi's ikat techniques became established during the first half of the 18th century. However, it was not until the latter part of the 19th century that they were used for weaving a silk cloth, after a warp ikat had been successfully perfected.

Niigata

Tokamachi Akashi Chijimi

Tokamachi Akashi Crepe

Woven textiles

Around the end of the 19th century, we took sample of cloth for summer of Nishijin of Kyoto home with us, and originally we applied to technique of Woven textiles called Tokamachi transparent silk cloth (we wait the tenth plow) which there was, and trial manufacture study of new product was performed.

Towards the end of the 19th century a sample roll of summer-weight kimono cloth was brought back to Tokamachi from Nishijin in Kyoto. Work then began on adapting an existing local weave called Tokamachi sukiya with a view to producing something new. A great deal of effort was then put into developing and improving the ways of tightly twisting up weft threads, resulting in improvements to another existing cloth, yorisukiya.

Niigata

Murakami Kibori Tsuishu

Murakami Carved and Lacquered Ware

Laquer Ware

Murakami district of Niigata is known as the natural lacquered production ground widely from the Heian era.

The Murakami area of Niigata Prefecture has been well known since the Heian period (794-1185) as a natural lacquer producing area. Using this refined sap, Murakami Kibori Tsuishu dates back to the beginning of the 15th century.

Niigata

Niigata Shikki

Niigata Lacquer Ware

Laquer Ware

Lacquering technology came from other production centers at the beginning of the Edo era, and monopoly area of lacquer ware called wooden bowl shop was established in current old town in 1638 (Kanei 15), and protectionism had stolen.

Techniques were originally introduced from other centers where lacquer ware was being made at the beginning of 17th century but in 1638, a specialist area for the selling of japanned goods was established under the name of a ""bowl store"" in what is now Furumachi, and received official protection. By 1819, the craft was well enough established for a list of ""master lacquerers"" to be recorded.

Niigata

Kamo Kiri Tansu

Kamo Paulowina Chests

Woodcraft, Bamboo Craftwork

Thing which carpenter produced at the beginning of the 19th century is informed with beginning of Kamo Kiri Tansu. "The 1814 (Bunka 11) purchase" and chest written down are used for ceiling of chest now in the city.

It seems that the making of Kamo Kiri Tansu began with one made by a carpenter in the early part of the 19th century. The very same chest is still being used in the city of Kamo today and it is inscribed on the back with ""Purchased 1814"".

Niigata

Tsubame Tsuiki Doki

Tsubame Beaten Copperware

Metalworking product

It is said that copper utensil business of swallow district began from place where jackleg of Sendai conveyed the technique in the middle of Edo era. Using copper produced from local Yahiko mountain, kettles were produced.

Beaten copper work really began in the Tsubame area during the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) when specialists from Sendai in present-day Miyagi prefecture come to the area and passed on their skills. Kettles were some of the first articles made using copper from a locally mined source.

Niigata

Echigo Yoita Uchihamono

Echigo Yoita Forged Blades

Metalworking product

For the age of civil strife, vassal of Kenshin Uesugi invites craftsman than Kasugayama made with sword in the latter half of the 16th century, and what made dajimbutsu does by opening.

The making of Echigo Yoita Uchihamono dates back to the Sengoku period (1428-1573) of unrest. It was then that warring feudal lords who fought alongside Uesugi Kenshin encouraged swordsmiths from Kasugayama into the area and these skilled men began making various kinds of forged blades.