Weaving > Bingata

Bingata is a method of printing textiles which comes from Okinawa. Okinawa is an island in the tropical south of Japan. The technique is very ancient and is so time-consuming that it was reserved for royalty and made into kimonos. It is still manufactured. It is still manufactured in Naha City, the capital of Okinawa.

Figure 1 and 2 show two separate lengths of silk bingata. Note the characteristic white line round each element of the design.

The method of manufacture is to stencil the design using a stencil cut from varnished mulberry paper. The stencil is the negative of the design and the stencil is used on the fabric with a rice resist. The resist is damp when applied and the fabric is left to dry thoroughly. The paint is then applied. Six different colours are used. There is no mixing of colours. The fabric when painted is left to dry thoroughly and then the resist is washed out. The work of painting the fabric is very finickety and slow. Some of the lengths are dyed a solid colour before the pattern is stencilled on.

We were able to make a sample ourselves and a few photos are shown below: