By Patricia Belyea
KYOTO JP What fun to discover a remarkable shop while wandering around Kyoto!
When I walked past Nijiyura, I glanced in the window. Instantly I noticed that the shop was filled with colorful tenugui (te-noo-goo-ee). But were they traditionally hand-dyed?
Tenugui, the ubiquitous Japanese hand cloth, measures 14”W X 35”L. This length of cotton doubles as a bandana, a wrapping cloth, a wall hanging, a sweatband, or an accessory in Japanese dramatic arts.
I was pleased to see that all the tenugui and other cotton goods in Nijiyura were chusen-dyed. This stencil dyeing method, developed in Osaka during the Meiji era, creates radiant colors with the same intensity on both sides of the fabric.
Twenty meters of tenugui cotton are prepared with dye-resist paste applied through a stencil. Dyes are poured through the pile of fabric on a vacuum table. The fabric is flipped over and dye is poured through the back to ensure that the color is even on both sides.
Fun facts about tenugui:
-Chu translates to pouring and sen translates to dyeing.
-The short ends of the tenugui are unfinished. After a few washings, the fraying stops and the ends are finished with a mini fringe.
-Yukata cotton is also dyed in chusen-dyeing workshops.
To immerse yourself in wonderfully chusen-dyed cotton goods, I hope you can locate Nijiyura when you visit Kyoto.
The easiest is way to get there is to use Google Maps and follow the directions to:
Nijiyura Kyoto Sanjo
To follow on Instagram: @nijiyura_tenugui
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ABOUT US: Okan Arts, a petite family business, is co-owned by mother-daughter duo Patricia Belyea and Victoria Stone. Patricia and Victoria sell Japanese textiles online, host creative quilting experiences, and lead quilting & textile tours to Japan.
FOLLOW OKAN ARTS ON INSTAGRAM @okanarts