Yuki-tsumugi, silk fabric production technique
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Yuki-tsumugi, silk fabric production technique
Yuki-tsumugi is a Japanese silk-weaving technique found principally in Yuki City and Oyama City, along the Kinu River, north of Tokyo. The region boasts a warm climate and fertile lands, which are ideal for the growth of mulberry trees and sericulture. The Yuki-tsumugi technique is employed to produce pongee silk (also called raw silk) – a light and warm material with a characteristic stiffness and softness, traditionally used to make kimonos. Production of the material includes several stages: silk floss is spun into yarn by hand, with patterns added by hand-tying bundles of yarn before dyeing the yarn, then the silk is woven using a back-tension loom. The silk floss for the yarn in Yuki-tsumugi weaving is produced from empty or deformed silkworm cocoons, otherwise unusable for the production of silk yarn. This recycling process plays a significant role in supporting local sericulture communities. The traditional techniques to produce Yuki-tsumugi are transmitted by members of the Association for the Preservation of Honba Yuki-tsumugi Weaving Technique. This association is directly engaged in maintaining traditions of spinning, dyeing and weaving, passed down from generation to generation within the community. It promotes transmission of Yuki-tsumugi through exchange of skills, training of young weavers, and practical demonstrations.
Decision 5.COM 6.25
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Yuki-tsumugi tradition of silk fabric production has maintained its social significance within its community, and is recognized as an important symbol of Japanese identity by the larger society;
- R.2: Inscription of Yuki-tsumugi on the Representative List could serve to heighten international awareness of the diversity of traditional textile techniques worldwide as evidence of human creativity;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures - for instance, holding workshops and training programmes and organizing exhibitions - are underway with the participation of the community and authorities at the municipal and State level, and measures to prevent future problems are proposed;
- R.4: The Association for the Preservation of Honba Yuki-tsumugi Weaving Techniques initiated the nomination and, together with the Preservation Association for the Technique of Yuki-tsumugi: an Intangible Cultural Property as well as the authorities, participated in the nomination process, providing their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: The Yuki-tsumugi has been inscribed since 1956 as an Important Intangible Cultural Property on the national inventory maintained by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
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