越後上布・小千谷縮 Echigo-jōfu / Ojiya-chijimi (Kimono)


Echigo-jōfu is an extremely refined fabric from the snowy Hokuriku region, while Ojiya-chijimi is Echigo-jōfu that has been produced with an additional wrinkling step. Ultra-fine thread spun from ramie breaks easily in dryer environments so it could only be woven during the humid winters in snow country. The woven cloth is laid out on the snowy fields on clear mornings in March. During this yukizarashi (exposure to the snow), sunlight combined with the ozone emitted by melting snow bleach the fabric, washing away impurities stuck to the threads and removing the color of the ramie to leave fabric of the purest white.

越後上布は北陸地方で作られている織物で、小千谷縮は越後上布を湯もみし、布を縮ませ表面に「しぼ」という凸凹があります。湿度の高い雪国の環境が、繊細な麻織物の生産に適しているため、冬仕事として受け継がれてきました。