【About Japan’s Traditional crafts】~ Nishijin Weave ~

【About Japan’s Traditional crafts】~ Nishijin Weave ~

【About Japan’s Traditional crafts】~ Nishijin Weave ~



Kinran is a beautiful and luxurious textile made from twill, satin, or other fabric interwoven with gold thread or gold leaf patterns.

The technique was imported from China in the period between 1573 and 1592, and thrived primarily in Kyoto’s Nishijin region.

Nishijin Kinran is used mainly to make the beautiful wall hangings and table runners found in temples and shrines, stoles worn by monks, and tea ceremony paraphernalia.

Many of the patterns are based on the 8th century treasures of the Todaiji Shosoin, but they have continued incorporating new elements from various eras, such as the treasures from the 16th century trade with Europe.



Manufacturing Method


①Planning *One of the most important parts of the process, incorporating new designs into the traditional patterns and drawing them up.

②Pattern design diagram *The plan is painted larger and in many colors on paper.

③Pattern engraving *Using a piano-style pattern engraver with the pattern design diagram as a base, holes are punched in a 33 cm x 4.5 cm strip of pattern paper to indicate the entry of the weft and warp.

④Weaving *Kinran is a complicated textile, so it must be woven completely on a hand loom. (At this stage, foil thread is incorporated strand by strand with a bamboo paddle.)

⑤Finishing touches *The completed textile is steamed to give it its trademark appearance



Plant and animal pattern

This design was inspired by Africa, which its creator admired as a child.

Sparkling gold Kinran is used to convey both the towering baobab trees large enough

to split a planet in half in “The Little Prince,” as well as the wild animals who stride

proudly through the parched savanna.



Swallow pattern

All over Japan, swallows build nests in people’s living places from spring through

early summer.

The desire to be like a swallow, to take to the sky as the seasons change and to

travel all over the country, is woven into this fabric.



Water chestnut pattern

“Hishikata” is the term used to describe the diamond-shaped water chestnuts that

grow near the water.

These are combined with familiar pine needles (matsuba) to create “matsuba-hishi.”

Water chestnuts represent the fertility of children and descendants, and the

evergreen nature of pine trees represents long life.




Dragon pattern

A dragon is a legendary, mystical creature often featured in the myths of many cultures and is also a symbol of good luck.


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