Meisen silk piece
mid 20th century
12″ x 19″
Meisen silk is Japanese silk created by weaving pre-dyed threads, utilizing the tie-and-resist ikat technique. The resulting piece is generally crisp and supple.
They’re created by first stretching the threads, silk or cotton on a frame. Specific design areas are tightly bound to prevent the dye from penetrating and the hanks of threads are immersed in the dye pots. The bound portions of the yarn resist the dye and when woven, create shapes with uniquely uneven edges as a result of the threads not being perfectly aligned.
Meisen silk was a popular fabric for casual kimonos from 1920 to 1950 due to its affordability and the fact that the designs, frequently drawing on Western influences, seemed exotic and ingenious. They retain a contemporary sensibility today.