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Bingata - A Traditional Japanese Craft

This video, titled "BINGATA – Az okinawai textilfestés," was created by "Teodora Vegh."
It introduces Rei Ishida (石田麗), who currently makes Bingata in a workshop in Oita Prefecture (大分県).

Bingata is a traditional dyeing technique representative of Okinawa, and is sometimes referred to as "Ryukyu Somemono" (琉球染物).
This dyeing technique is used to create beautiful clothing items and accessories which are available for purchase.
Check out the video to learn more about the history of this traditional craft and how Bingata products are made!

The History of Bingata, A Traditional Japanese Craft

The Bingata dyeing technique has been used in Okinawa since the 13th century.
It's said that this technique was developed to create kimono for the royal family at the time.
The kanji characters for "Bingata," which until then was simply written in hiragana, were chosen during the Showa period (1926 AD - 1989 AD).
Since the Second World War, Bingata workshops have opened up all over Japan and items are now produced as works of art.

How Bingata is Made

The craftsmen must first design and create a stencil that will be used to apply a motif to the fabric.
The stencil is cut out carefully by hand.
This process can be seen at 0:40 in the video.

Once the stencil is made, a paste is applied on top of the stencil (1:38 in the video) followed by paint to apply color to the material.
The brushes used to dye the fabric are often made from human hair.
Other dyeing methods such as Tsutsugaki (筒描き) and Aizome (藍染) are often used, as well as the traditional Bingata dyeing technique.
After applying color, the fabric is then steamed and soaked in water to remove the paste.

The Bingata dyeing process shown in the video is as follows:

1. Design
2. Stencil carving (0:39~)
3. Paste application (1:44~)
4. "Gobiki" (2:36~)
5. Color application (3:05~)
6. "Sumitori" (4:03~)
7. Steaming
8. Soaking
9. Nori paste application
10. Dyeing
11. Steaming
12. Soaking
13. Sewing
14. Finish

Purchasing Bingata Dyed Goods

Bingata fabric is used to create many items such as furoshiki (風呂敷), tapestries, accessories, kimono, yukata, furisode (long-sleeved kimono) and hanhaba obi (half-width obi/kimono sash).
The bright, bold coloring of Bingata dyed goods is typical of Okinawa.

Bingata items can be purchased in workshops and gift shops around Okinawa and Kyushu.
In recent years, the number of Bingata items being sold online has been increasing making it even easier to find and purchase the patterns that suit you best.

Summary of Bingata, A Traditional Craft of Okinawa

Making beautiful Bingata dyed goods like those introduced in the video involves a series of complicated processes.
Clothing and accessories made from Bingata dyed fabric make great Japanese souvenirs! Have fun searching for your favorite Bingata goods!

Written By
Aug. 22, 2021
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
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