China and Japan have been producing textiles for thousand of years.  China was the first producer of silk, so we can thank them for that.  Japan were one of the first pioneers of the technique Shibori: a method of twisting, binding, stitching, or compressing fabric to create patterns in the fabric when it’s dyed.

Though I think that China and Japan have created some of the most interesting print patterns to date.  Their patterns are deliberate and perfect almost to the point of  being obsessive.

One thing I really like about Chinese/ Japanese fabrics is that they all reference nature in some way.  Their cultures are steeped in high respect for their natural surroundings.

The natural world has long been conceived in Chinese thought as a self-generating, complex arrangement of elements that are continuously changing and interacting.  Chinese philosophy tends to focus on the relationships between the various elements in nature rather than on what makes or controls them. According to Daoist beliefs, man is a crucial component of the natural world and is advised to follow the flow of nature’s rhythms. Daoism also teaches that people should maintain a close relationship with nature for optimal moral and physical health.

<Source:Nature in Chinese Culture | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art>

In Japan the practices of Shinto, a Japanese indigenous spirituality, today refers to the various shrines, festivals, and memorials which serve various purposes.  The belief is that harmony can only be achieved with nature, a fact that is most commonly seen in Japanese flower arranging, architecture, and garden design.

In Chinese textiles there is a lot of dragon imagery.  Dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese folklore and mythology.  They represent strength, good luck, and great power.  (Control over water, rainfall and floods.)  Historically, the dragon also symbolized different ranks of power.  The 3-clawed dragon represented the commoners, the 4-clawed dragon represented the Emperor of China, and the 5-clawed dragon represented the Son of Heaven which was an emperor that was recognized as ruler of “All Under Heaven”.

All the fabrics are lusciously rich in texture, color, and imagery.  A true luxury.

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