Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shimacho - sample books.

Today's post looks at one of the earliest and one of the most recent additions to my collection.  Shimacho 縞帖 literally 'stripe book' refers to various kinds of fabric sample books. (Japanese readers might note that there have been  variations in the kanji used for both 'shima' and 'cho' over time).  These  books were put together for a variety of purposes,  some are  commercial samplers and  some were created by weavers as a record of the different designs they'd created. The first photos are from a set of three shimacho which were very early additions to my collection. These probably date from around the middle of the 19th century. There's no text that  is still legible and it is difficult to know exactly what their  purpose was, but it appears to be someone's personal collection.  All the fabrics are cotton with a range of dyeing and weaving techniques.

The second sample book is one the most recent  additions to my collection and is full  of  pre-war silk remnants. Many of the fabrics have had small pieces cut out which suggest that it was the collection of someone who  made small oshie collages or bags or similar and has saved all her remnants. I really appreciate that she (it's probably fairly safe to assume it was a woman) went to the trouble to keep these tiny treasures which we can enjoy  again now.


  1. What gorgeous books, what a treasure! I found your blog doing a search on Japanese textiles, and I'm really enjoying reading all your posts on the wonderful things in your shop--I particularly enjoyed the post in the wooden bobbins, and the children's sewing lesson book. I wish I lived in Australia so I could visit your shop in person.