Bebe Taian: Sri Threads: A Cool Textile Blog

August 26, 2012

Sri Threads: A Cool Textile Blog

Sri Threads is a blog I found about a year ago, although admittedly, I don't check it as often as I used to. Where my interests mainly lie in silks and styles of wearing, Sri's interest is clearly in what most people wore- cottons, hemps, and... paper.

Paper?

Oh yes.

If you are at all interested in what the common people wore in Japan, especially 100 years ago or even further back, I highly suggest you take a look at this blog. Not only Japanese antiques are featured; occasionally, I see Indian or Islamic clothing or textile works, but mainly you will find Japanese textiles.

Of my favourite posts is about long mesh mosquito nets. I suppose this isn't the sort of thing people romanticize, but it isn't merely about function. I think of court ladies, shrouded and mysterious, by these nets, hidden and revealed simultaneously. I think of intensive labour of the weaving processes used to make such intricate, gauzy panels, the harvesting of plants to make the dyes (and the harsh humidity and heat that someone endured to do so), and the thought put into the colours that would be created for just the right atmosphere. After all, something so predominant in a room must be visually pleasing to ensure a certain amount of enjoyment. Surely, even a mosquito net is worth such attention.

The most recent entry is about a rare paper garment called a 'kappa', not to be confused with the water monster 'kappa'. This 'kappa' comes from 'capa', a Portuguese word for 'cape', which is exactly what it is! It seems to have been treated (and therefore preserved) by the same methods that were used to make and preserve katagami, stencils for dyeing kimono!

I suggest you give it a read. If you are at all interested in fashion, textiles, or just want a glimpse into what the daily life of an ordinary person in Japan might have meant in the 1800s, spend some time leafing through her blog.

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