Shibori, an ancient and stylish dyeing technique

Shibori Kimono bow and sash
Shibori Kimono bow and sash

Shibori is a Japanese tie-dying technique. 

In Japan, the earliest known example of cloth dyed using the shibori technique dates to the 8th century. It remains among the goods donated by Emperor Shomu to Todai-ji Temple in Nara. Since ancient times, tie-dyed kimono have been highly praised among women, and a variety of items were made with tie-dye techniques. Today, a wide range of works, such as fabrics for Western-style dresses, folding screens, and framed pictures are created by using this tradition.

Japanese Shibori has an infinite number of ways, stitch, hold, twist, or compress cloth for shibori, and each way results in very different patterns.

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Each method is used to achieve a certain result, but each method is also used to work in harmony with the type of cloth used. Therefore, the technique used in shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed. Also, different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.

There are extremely elaborate dyeing methods such as “so-shibori,” a kind of kimono in which the entire cloth is mounted with “kanoko shibori” on which birds, flowers, and other beautiful scenic patterns are designed. So-shibori is so elaborate that professionals in cloth-dying spend about three years making one.

At Kyoto Shibori Museum, located near Nijo Castle, you will have the opportunity to experience firsthand the skills of Japanese artisans. The museum consists of an art museum featuring traditional industrial arts of Japan and Kyokanoko Shibori.