joufu 上布
KEY WORD : art history / crafts
Lit. superior cloth. A joufu lightweight, fine hand-woven cloth made lightweight from delicate hand-twisted ramie yarn, choma 苧麻. The thin ramie filament allows fine weaving and thus joufu was used by the upper classes for lightweight summer garments. In contrast with expensive and refined silk cloth haku 帛 used by the upper classes, the resilient cloth derived from such plant yarns as hemp, ramie, mulberry, wisteria and cotton was called fu 布 and used by commoners. Ramie hemp, however, was used for the summer clothes of all classes and thus was made in nearly all parts of Japan. Miyako joufu 宮古上布, Satsuma joufu 薩摩上布, Echigo joufu 越後上布 and Yaeyama joufu 八重山上布 are made from ramie while Noto joufu 能登上布 is woven from a fine hemp yarn, taima 大麻. The term joufu likely dates from the late Edo period, when people in Satsuma 薩摩 used the word to refer to textiles with kongasuri 紺絣 (splashed patterns on navy) and jishirogasuri 地白絣 (splashed patterns on white).


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