What is the history behind the kimono pattern called “ikat”?

What is the history behind the kimono pattern called ikat featured

What is the ikat pattern?

The ikat pattern is a traditional Japanese textile pattern that involves dyeing yarn before it is woven into a fabric. This technique creates a blurred, slightly imperfect look as the dye seeps into the fibers irregularly. Ikat can be seen on a variety of textiles, but is most commonly found on kimonos.

The origin of ikat

While ikat is now commonly associated with Japan, the technique actually originated in Southeast Asia. It is believed to have been brought to Japan by Dutch traders in the 17th century. Japanese artisans eventually developed their own style and patterns of ikat, which became popular during the Edo period (1603-1868).

The symbolism behind ikat patterns

Like many traditional patterns, ikat has its own symbolism. The shapes and colors used in ikat often have specific meanings. For example, a pattern of interlocking circles can represent wealth and prosperity, while a pattern of butterflies can signify longevity and good luck. These meanings were often used to convey messages through clothing in Japan’s feudal society.

Ikat in modern fashion

Today, ikat is still a popular pattern used in modern fashion. Many designers have adapted traditional patterns and colors to create contemporary looks. Ikat can be found on clothing, accessories, and even home decor. The imperfect, blurred look of the pattern gives it a unique and handmade feel that is highly sought after.

Preserving the tradition

While ikat is still popular today, it is important to preserve the traditional techniques and patterns. In Japan, there are organizations dedicated to keeping the art of ikat alive, such as the Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto. By supporting and promoting these traditional arts, we can ensure that they are passed on to future generations.

Jump to section