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The Flowing Line: Japanese Tsutsugaki Paste Resist Textiles

The Flowing Line: Japanese Tsutsugaki Paste Resist Textiles

Presented by Ruth Anderson, Independent Scholar Saturday,January 20, 2018, 10 am Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

Admission: Free for current members of the TAC; $5 for students and members of FAMSF; $10 General Admission

Japanese tsutsugaki (“tube drawing”) is a paste resist technique that previously was widely used by dyers in towns and villages throughout Japan to decorate a variety of ceremonial, household and commercial textiles. Tsutsugaki textiles are known for their bold, vibrant patterns drawn free-hand, in flowing lines, with the tsutsu. We will explore the rich vocabulary of auspicious symbols and themes from folk legends depicted on tsutsugaki textiles, and look at when and how these symbols and themes were used. Many of these symbols express important themes in Japanese culture.

The lecture will also look at the origins and development of tsutsugaki technique, and how this technique relates to other Japanese paste resist surface decoration techniques such as the finely-drawn, elegant yuzen-zome and the katazome stencil paste resist.

In 2015 Ruth had the opportunity to visit one of the last remaining traditional Japanese tsutsugaki workshops and photograph a master craftsman and his son at work. Through these photos she will explain the process of making a tsutsugaki futon cover. On display, for viewing after the lecture, will be a futon cover made by this master craftsman as well as older pieces from the late 19th – early 20th c.

Ruth Anderson has studied Japanese tsutsugaki textiles for a number of years, both in the U.S. and in Japan. She has given talks on Japanese textiles to groups in the Bay Area including TAC’s Ethnic Textile Study group. At the University Art Museum, Berkeley, she assisted in organizing several shows on East and Southeast Asian fiber arts. At the UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, she organized an exhibition on masks and costumes of Japan, China and Korea, and at the Wing Luk Museum, Seattle, she organized “By Hand: Turning Fiber into Art in Mainland Southeast Asia” Ruth also participated in a cataloging and storage project of the Asian and other textile collections at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum, UC Berkeley. Currently she is pursuing her interest in documenting contemporary tsutsugaki workshops in Japan.


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