KEY WORD : art history / crafts
A figured or diagonally-woven twill fabric.

1 The twill form, ayasoshiki 綾組織 or pattern of weaving, shamon soshiki 斜文組織. It is one of the three basic types of weaving, along with plain form, hirasoshiki 平組織, and satin form, shusu soshiki 繻子組織. The twill pattern is woven by passing the weft thread obliquely above or below two or more warp threads. Variants based on the number of threads by-passed are sanmai-aya 三枚綾, yonmai-aya 四枚綾, rokumai-aya 六枚綾, and hachimai-aya 八枚綾. Twilled fabrics are softer than plain fabrics, hiraori 平織, and slightly less shiny than satins, shusuori 繻子織.

2 A type of figured textile, mon-orimono 紋織物, made with different types of weaving for the background and the pattern. This is how the word aya is used in old documents. Of the textiles preserved at Houryuuji 法隆寺, most are hiraji ayamon 平地綾文 with a plain background and twilled patterns. A majority of textiles preserved in the *Shousouin 正倉院 Repository of Toudaiji 東大寺 in Nara, are ayaji ayamon 綾地綾文 with a twill background and twilled patterns. In recent centuries, the term aya generally refers to figured textiles, mon-orimono, or twill form, ayasoshiki. Aya was woven in Japan by the 3c, and was common by the 8c. In early periods, such patterns as simple geometric designs and Chinese lions or flying horses were woven on the flat base.


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