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National Cherry Blossom Festival: Bingata in Okinawa and Beyond

Detail of bingata kimono with flowers and birds on a yellow background
Eijun Shiroma, kimono (detail), Okinawa Island, Japan, 2017. The Textile Museum 2017.8.1. Donated by Eijun Shiroma, 15th generation head of the Shiroma Bingata Studio.


Curator Lee Talbot will introduce bingata, a unique dyeing technique from the island of Okinawa. For hundreds of years, bold bingata fabrics indicated rank at the royal court of the Ryukyu Kingdom, but the art almost disappeared with the kingdom’s demise. After WWII, resolute craftsmen revived production, and today bingata textiles are among the most widely recognized symbols of Okinawan identity.

Drawing from primary sources including fabrics, workshop archives and interviews with makers and designers, Talbot will examine changes in the production, consumption and social function of bingata from the mid-19th century through the present day. 

About Lee Talbot

Lee Talbot joined The Textile Museum as a curator in 2007, specializing in East Asian textiles. He has curated numerous exhibitions and published catalogues, articles and textbook chapters. Talbot was previously curator at the Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum in Seoul, Korea. He has a bachelor’s from Rhodes College, MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and master’s from Bard Graduate Center.

How to Participate

You can register for this program online. After you register, we will email you a link and instructions for joining our program online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (6 p.m. EDT). When you register, you can also ask to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.  

About the National Cherry Blossom Festival

The annual spring celebration commemorates Japan’s 1912 gift of cherry trees to the city of Washington, D.C. This year, dozens of virtual events bring together cultural organizations and businesses to showcase D.C. arts, entertainment, cuisine and sports in the spirit of international friendship. Browse museum programs