Important Cultural PropertyFragment of Shokko brocade joku (mat)

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  • 1 piece
  • Silk
  • L157.0 W56.5
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-43

This item is a kind of Nishiki used as an outer fabric for a Shitone (soft mat). Nishiki is a collective term for a fabric woven with various colorful threads into warps and woofs.

Although Tate-Nishiki (a fabric made by weaving warps systematically) was the mainstream style of Nishiki from the era between the Asuka period and the Nara period, Yoko-Nishiki (a fabric raised-woven with various colorful threads into woofs) appeared later. In addition to these patterns, there is Ukimon-Nishiki (floating patterns). On the one hand, Tate-Nishiki is an ancient Chinese technique and is seen in older fabrics held at Horyu-ji Temple, many of which have relatively small patterns. On the other hand, Yoko-Nishiki can be used for applying colorful large patterns and the mainstream style of Nishiki had changed to Yoko-Nishiki. Remaining articles show, however, that Tate-Nishiki was still made at the same time.

The red Kikkou Tsunagi Kayou-mon (pattern) used for the outer fabric of Shokukou Kinjoku is Tate-Nishiki, in which a design of a flower and a bird are symmetrically placed in the bright red fabric with arabesque-styled hexagonal patterns. In general, woven fabrics with small patterns often have the same repeated patterns across the fabric, but this Nishiki is a unique and has no repeated patterns. Nishiki particularly called Shokukoukin among dyed fabrics from the era between the Asuka period and the Nara period is a collective term used to refer to the ancient patterns of red Tate-Nishiki handed down to Horyu-ji Temple.