ra 
CATEGORY: art history / crafts
 
A complex gauze weave. Whether plain, patterned or combined with gold, silk gauzes such as ra, sha 紗 and ro 絽 are known in Japan as karami-ori 搦織 (gauze fabrics). Sha is the simplest weave; ra uses warp threads at diagonals to the weft to create intricate designs; ro uses areas of open weave to separate strips of densely woven material. Gauze originated in the Middle East and was made in China by 200 BCE. It was imported to Japan in the 7c, and produced there by the 8c for Buddhist religious ceremonies and imperial coronations. Early pieces of ra and sha in the *Shousouin 正倉院 show these fabrics were used for resist dyeing and embroidered designs.
 
 

 
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