I'm really excited that we are now stocking some lovely rolls of donsu; Japanese damask. Donsu ( 緞子) was originally imported into Japan from China and has long been used for scroll backings and tea ceremony textiles such as shifuku bags for storing implements. Donsu is a reversible satin weave fabric either in a single colour or with different coloured warp and weft. Quite often the contrasting colour will be a gold metallic thread. The colours are typically subtle, elegant, muted tones favoured for tea ceremony. There is evidence that some of the original donsu which were imported from China had been woven in more vibrant colours which were already very old and faded by the time they reached Japan and were used in tea ceremonies. Presumably the subtle 'wabi' aesthetic of the old fabrics was then recreated when the Japanese began to weave their own donsu.
The donsu we have in the shop now are mostly about 75cm wide. Some are pure silk - but it's not always easy to tell the silk and synthetic apart simply by look and feel as most of them have a lovely soft silky texture. I'm going to wash a few samples to see how they go. I think they'll be lovely for use in cushions and other projects around the home, some clothing, evening bags and all sorts of other things. I'm looking forward to seeing what uses my customers find for it.