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Tsumugi

Kanji, Kana & Pronunciation
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Romaji Tsumugi
Kanji 紬, 紡ぎ
Kana つむぎ
Audio Coming Soon
(n) woven spun silk, pongee; Origin: tsumugu, to spin[1]


Tsumugi (pongee) is a silk fabric woven from the floss remaining in the silkworm cocoon after the full threads have been removed. By spinning these broken strands together silkworm farmers created a fabric for for their own use.[2] Today tsumugi is highly prized and one of the most expensive kimono fabrics despite its humble origins.

Characteristics

Tsumugi was originally spun, woven, and sewn into a kimono by one person for the use of her household, so there are many distinct regional variations. However, all tsumugi can be readily identified by its characteristic slubs and sheen. The slubs (rough lines in the weaving) are created by spinning the silk. Initially tsumugi fabric is very stiff, due to the starch applied during spinning, but the more times it is worn and washed, the softer it becomes. [3] Very old tsumugi is as soft as silk fabric woven from untwisted threads.

Manufacture

Broken threads left inside the silk cocoon are collected by the farmer. These are degummed in a hot water bath with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sulfurous acid (a mild bleach). After rinsing, they are hung to dry out of direct sunlight. After drying, the silk floss is placed in a bath of ground sesame seeds and water. The oil from the sesame seeds makes it easier to draw individual threads to be spun.

The floss is handspun. The spinner uses saliva to adhere the new threads to the old ones. This produces the characteristic sheen and stiffness of tsumugi. After spinning, the thread is dyed and then woven into tsumugi. The most popular patterns include shima, ichimatsu, and kasuri. After weaving, the fabric is steamed to set the dyes and then made into kimono.[4]

History

Examples


Formality & TPO

The appropriateness of tsumugi for certain events is affected by its pattern. A kasuri or shima tsumugi can be treated as a komon and is thus rather casual. An iromuji tsumugi is more formal and can be worn to tea events. A houmongi tsumugi may be worn to dinner and other more formal events if there is no alternative.[5]


TPO - Within Japan

Occasion Acceptable
Hotel Wedding Reception No
Restaurant Wedding Reception OK if iromuji or houmongi
Formal Party OK if iromuji or houmongi
Casual Party Yes
Dinner OK
Lunch Yes
Tea Gathering Yes, if iromuji
Graduation Ceremony OK
Practice Yes
Theatre, Concert Yes
Exhibition Yes
Travel Yes
Yes - Acceptable to wear.
OK - OK to wear if no suitable alternatives.
No - Unacceptable to wear.


Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

References

  1. Yamanaka, Norio. The Book of Kimono. Kodansha International. New York. First paperback edition, 1986. p.45.
  2. Yamanaka, Norio. The Book of Kimono. Kodansha International. New York. First paperback edition, 1986. p.44.
  3. Yamanaka, Norio. The Book of Kimono. Kodansha International. New York. First paperback edition, 1986. p.45.
  4. Yamanaka, Norio. The Book of Kimono. Kodansha International. New York. First paperback edition, 1986. p.46.
  5. Knowledge-Occasions for Kimono