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Suminagashi Ancient Japanese Art Painted Fabric Remnant Swirling Shades of Blue

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The Japanese developed the art of Suminagashi in the 12th century as a way to decorate paper. It is also called marbling. Suminagashi refers to floating ink. Delicate swirled patterns were produced on paper when color of ink were floated on the surface of the water. The artist would drop circles of black and indigo blue ink into the water then blow on the surface to produce smoke-like patterns. It became popular with members of the Japanese royal court. They used it to decorate paper which was used for precious gifts. And then it became world known and book binders began using it for the inside cover pages to decorate the finest books.

This fabric swatch (and all my others) came from an elderly Japanese woman's estate. I was told that she made this (in the 1960s or 1970s) as well as the others. She may have used it as a practice piece or it may be a remnant of a larger piece she used, perhaps for a kimono lining or kimono belt, or a kimono.

It is perfect for piecing into a quilt, tote bag, scarf or an item of clothing. Think of the suit tie you could make with it! Or as it is - so suitable for framing.

I have hung it in a window facing east on an overcast afternoon so you can get an idea of the fabric weight. This one feels like silk - it very lightweight.

It measures: 11 inches wide by 15 inches long.
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Suminagashi Ancient Japanese Art Painted Fabric Remnant Swirling Shades of Blue


  • Vintage Supply from the 1960s
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 160 reviews
  • Favorited by: 33 people