Posted by: ジャパンホッパーズ編集部(Japan Hoppers Editors) 07 Sep 2015 Sponsored

The textile artwork of Koho -The Beauty of Nishiki-

The textile artwork of Koho -The Beauty of Nishiki-

The persuasion of "The beauty of Nishiki" 

The word "Nishiki" is a very old Japanese word that has been used throughout Japanese history in all kinds of words for beautiful things such as "Nishiki-no-mihata", the flag of the Emperor’s army, the expression "kokyo ni nishiki wo kazaru", meaning to return to one’s hometown gloriously, and "nishiki-aki", meaning a beautiful autumn.

Originally, the word "Nishiki" referred to the top-quality silken products produced in Japan that were very difficult to find anywhere else in the world. Historically, Nishiki were very prized items among Japanese people and they were also used to proudly display the beauty of Japan to the world.

As for the artist Koho, he pursues the "Beauty of Nishiki" and in order to exceed even that beauty he continues to produce textiles to this day as a Japanese artform. 

Conductor of Crafters

The world of textiles involves a division of labor system, with some crafts involving as many as 12 separate steps and each crafter having a different job in the overall process. There are craftsmen who specialize in weaving, heddle looms, dyeing, crest design, mechanical looms and many other fields.

Koho’s job is managing the individual crafters in order to create a final, unified piece of artwork. You can think of him like an orchestra conductor or a movie director. If there is even a single error or dissonance in the work it will be unable to be realized as a work of art.

Textiles and the Digital World

Kaho also keeps a sharp eye to presentation and color scheme. Textiles are a world of points constructed one at a time by weaving the thread up and down, not unlike the digital world which is constructed of single 1s and 0s at its core. With a diligent eye to detail, the individual points can weave together and become a more beautiful piece of art. 

Rather than using single threads of a given color, the coloring process is actually very complex. Similar to the way a painter uses a palette of colors, the coloring process involves dyeing the threads in a multitude of subtle variations of colors. The colors are retouched over and over until they are agreed upon. This process is repeated numerous times until the completed piece becomes "nishiki".

To give you an idea of how long this can take, certain pieces have taken numerous years to complete.

Inheritence of Traditional Techniques

Dissatisfied with the state of crisis in the modern textile industry, Koho also took it upon himself to set up the Japan Traditional Textiles Preservation Institute.

Koho fundamentally works in the field of directing and producing textile artwork.

For this reason the Institute researches excellent textile arts from the past, revives damaged works through restoration, and works together with crafters in the field to convey the legacy of traditional textile techniques to the next generation.

This is referred to as the "comprehensive restoration project" which involves researching all the techniques used in textile manufacture in the past, and using them to perform restorations. They painstakingly recreate the methods in which textiles were produced in their given time period, from the method of pulling of silk from the cocoon to the manufacture of equipment. 

"Nishiki" to the World

In recent years the Institute has also turned its eyes towards a global audience and is holding energetic exhibitions in Europe. These exciting exhibitions of never before seen Japanese textiles draw surprise and rave reviews from visitors. By introducing the multicolored grandeur of the innumerable varieties of Japanese silk works to a global audience they hope to make "nishiki" a word known all over the globe as one of the most beautiful and brilliant of all forms of textile art.