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Nishiki weaver seeks to keep alive ancient Japanese art
Mar '16
Courtesy: Nishki
Courtesy: Nishki
The quest to keep alive keep alive a centuries old tradition of 'Nishiki' silk weaving in Japan has brought a master weaver for the land of the rising sun to Varanasi, home to the famed Banarsi silk.

Master Amane Tatsumura, a fourth generation brocade master from Kyoto whose family has kept alive the highest form of silk weaving through relentless endeavour and research to restore its rich legacy says he is quite excited about his trip to Varanasi, considered a haven for silk weavers, PTI has reported.

"The spectator is stunned by the three-dimensional effect that a Nishiki fabric gives as it is woven in layers, accomplished only after a blueprint is realised through highly skilled and specialised craftsmen", says Tatsumura.

The weaver was in India as part of a special programme organised by the Japanese Embassy to promote trade and cultural relations between the two countries.

Japanese people hold an immense sense of pride in their hearts for the ancient tradition of silk weaving, which is known all over the world for its excellence.

Nishiki is woven on takabata looms since they were introduced from China over 1200 years ago. The rich silk fabric is exquisite, luminous, luxurious and multi-colored. The high precision and skill level required in weaving this fabric and the resulting extraordinary beauty and quality demands that it be distinguished from ordinary brocade by giving it a distinctive name, Nishiki.

In Japanese language, the idiographic character used for Nishiki is combination of the symbol for gold, implying that the value of Nishiki is equal to that of money. This unique brocade is created through the combined skills of numerous craftsmen, involving a broad range of technical processes that require time and patience.

To secure the future path of Nishiki, the Tatsumura established the "Japan Traditional Weaving Preservation Research Society" - Koho which stands for combination of a weaving studio and research work to prevent the death of this unique art form.

Tatsumura Heizo, the first generation artist performed the restoration of 70 ancient textile fragments from Horyuji Temple and the Soshoin (National Antiquities Museum of Japan), including the National Treasure, "Nishiki with Lion Hunting."

Besides this, Heizo conceived numerous weaving techniques and held nearly 30 utility model patents. This typical piece of work passes through the hands of 70 different craftsmen during the entire process that begins with a bundle of yarn and ends in a finished product.

Since ancient times, the word 'Nishiki' has been used as an adjective to denote great beauty. Historically, it has been highly revered by the Japanese people, inspiring great national pride as an icon of Japanese beauty.

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