Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Okinawan Crafts

There are several traditional arts and crafts in Okinawa: Tsuboya pottery, Ryukyu lacquerware, Ryukyu glass, Shuri textile, and Ryukyu bingata.

Tsuboya pottery is described as heavy, warm, rustic earthenware.  Ryukyu lacquerware, developed under the generous protection of the Ryukyuan Courts, was highly regarded as export items and used for tributes to foreign overlords. Ryuky glass is hand-blown, and attractive for its rustic, naturally rounded shapes. Shuri Textile is a prestigious woven fabric only allowed for the royal family, nobility and warrior class to wear in the Ryukyu Dynasty.  Ryukyu bingata is the only dyeing tradition of the islands.  In the Kingdom Era the dyed materials were authorized only for formal wear by women of the Royal House or selected religious leaders.  Bin means color and gata means pattern and it is a resistance technique using ricepaste to repel the dye. The traditional patterns are seen in the kimonos worn by the dancers.

Ted and I decided to take a bingata workshop.  He wanted to make a shisa on a bag and I chose a fish scene on a small mat. We were given a brief introduction and the dyes and left on our own.

We didn’t find out until after the painting was done that it had to dry for a week before we could “finish” it at home.  Here are the instructions we received.

At home we had to soak the items in hot water for an hour, then spray it off, let it dry, and press with an iron.  Here’s the finished product.

After the bingata workshop, Ted had enough crafts.  He went to the microbrewery for a beer and I took a shuri textile (weaving) workshop and made a coaster.

We enjoyed our introduction to Okinawan crafts.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

That looks like fun. Love the colours in the weaving - blue is my favourite.