Construction & Composition
Honshibo-ori uses dyed degummed silk threads for the warp and weft; the warp is loosely twisted, and the weft is tightly twisted. The first round of the twisted weft is woven and is then subjected to a glue paste and before this glue dries, another round of even more tightly twisted weft is woven through. After alternately weaving two strands of the right twist, and left twist threads at a time, the fabric is then soaked in lukewarm water, and is massaged vigourously to bring out the grain, the bumpy texture of the fabric to the surface.
Chirimen (silk crepe) and Omeshi (stripe crepe) are examples of silk woven textiles with an embossing process, in which the texture of the silk crepe is critical for piece dyeing, including Yuzen dyeing. While these kinds of weaving methods were already recognized in ancient Japan, Chinese-made textiles were introduced through their interactions at overseas during the early period of the modern age and eventually became the foundation for today’s weaving. Some discovered examples with this kind of weaving include the crimson colored clothing of Shingen Uesugi that was found as a memento, and Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s battle surcoat woven with white silk crepe. Considering these mementos, it is believed that Japan began weaving such fabrics after it was introduced to the country. However, a more full-scale production of weaving didn’t start until the beginning of Edo period, where weaving production started in Nishijin.
Although many silk crepes, and silk garments of Shu (embroidery) and Some (dyeing) are introduced, all of these are different from their modern versions, particulalrly in its lightness and thinness. In addition, the name of Omeshi (stripe crepe) was derived from Ienari Tokugawa, the 11th Tokugawa Shogunate military director (in office: 1878〜1837), who preferred to wear silk crepe with small greyish-blue checkered design. These dyed silk-thread crepes are called “Omeshi” (the honorific term for “wearing” used towards a senior), since it was worn as a clothing of a Shogun (general). After the Omeshi was introduced, its unique and stylish look was cherished by the people of Bunka-Bunsei era and as a result, this weaving method was not only applied in making men’s clothing, but also in women’s clothing. During the trend, an equal proportion of men’s and women’s clothing were woven during the early years of Showa era. Until the beggining of WW2, it was represented as a high-class item of clothing.