Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop

Japan has a remarkably refined textile tradition, and for centuries the Japanese have admired the silks produced in the Nishijin neighborhood of Kyoto as the epitome of beauty and opulence. Woven Treasures featured some of the sumptuous pieces created in one of Nishijin’s oldest and most illustrious workshops: Tawaraya.

With a history stretching back more than 500 years, the Tawaraya workshop is renowned for supplying the Japanese Imperial Household with yusoku orimono—fine silks in patterns, weaves, and color combinations traditionally reserved for the garments and furnishings of the aristocracy, including the Emperor. This exhibition was organized with the help of Mr. Hyoji Kitagawa, the eighteenth generation head of the Tawaraya, who was recently designated a Living National Treasure for his knowledge and preservation of this unique cultural inheritance. The kimono, screens, and other colorful silks in the exhibition demonstrate the technical and aesthetic mastery of the Tawaraya workshop while providing insight into the pageantry and refinement of Japanese court culture.

Woven Treasures of Japan’s Tawaraya Workshop was supported by grants from S&R Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Japan Foundation, and Asian Cultural Council. Educational programs related to the exhibition were made possible in part by a grant from Toshiba International Foundation. Read the gallery guide.