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CTE4937 - Textiles In Culture

Week 3


Chinese Silk Weaving (Video)

In Marguilan, a silk-making shop still practices and teaches the traditional Chinese art of silk weaving to its merchants.

The Emperor's Secret Garden (Video)

Beijing's Forbidden City is known throughout the world as an icon of Chinese history, evolving over the centuries as a symbol of the glory and grandeur of its ruling elite. Yet in one corner stands a more intimate group of buildings and gardens—one that has lain unused and virtually untouched for more than two hundred years. This film takes us on a fascinating journey into a world where only the most perfect and beautiful work could be offered to an Emperor—a standard that the modern world is hard-pressed to equal. The revelation is that supreme skills and traditional materials may be rare, but they do still exist, if the will exists to seek them out. The search ends in triumph—and watching this remarkable and intricate treasure come back to life is an unforgettable experience.

Kimono: Symbol of a Nation (Video)

Elegant, flowing, and steeped in mythology, the kimono has survived for fifteen hundred years as a symbol of Japanese tradition and a mirror of Japan’s evolving culture. From medieval courtesans adorned in sensual finery to samurai warriors whose clothing signified their military allegiance, anyone donning a kimono accepted and perpetuated its meanings. Today, knowledge of its traditions and observance of the elaborate rules surrounding it have declined. Nevertheless, thanks to the small number of modern Japanese women who honor and study their past, the multifaceted gown lives on. This program examines the kimono’s continuing importance in Japanese culture and society—from the tea ceremony to the fashion runway. (48 minutes)

Segments to Watch:

How Silk Cloth is Dyed

Kimono: Weaving Processes

The Obi: Epitome of Japanese Elegance and Refinement (Video)

More than 80 years of unstinting devotion to his craft have made 98-year-old Yatsujiro Yamaguchi one of the best textile artists in Japan—and perhaps the world. Filmed at the Nishijin Textile Center and other locations, this program showcases the obi, the key component of traditional female garb and the epitome of Japanese elegance and refinement, as woven by Mr. Yatsujiro. Noh costumes are also spotlighted as the video addresses topics such as the fine-fabric weaving process, textile patterns and design, and the cultural significance of the kimono. Footage of the esteemed weaver in his workshop is featured.

Segments to Watch:

  • Yamaguchi's Workshop
  • Yamaguchi's Loom

Japanese Obi Indigo Fabric Maker (Video)

In her nineties, a Japanese Living Treasure plants her indigo seeds each year and processes them to get a deep blue dye. She performs the entire weaving and dyeing processes. She and her daughter produce 5 bolts of kimono cloth per year.

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