A mountain village where persimmons are grown for dye and for eating. We were interested in the type grown for dyeing. The Blue Persimmon tree is the variety used for dye. You can see the blown cloths hanging In the sun to deepen the color. In the foreground are some persimmon trees. This tiny picturesque village is nestled in the mountains near Onomichi which is in the Hiroshima prefecture. [click photos to enlarge]
Dyed cloth in the sun to darken. The ones in the foreground had iron added to the dye process to change the color from the common reddish brown. I’ve done some dyeing with persimmons so was eager to see the real process.
This is a 200 year old persimmon tree which we were shown proudly. The persimmons were just harvested in September when they were hard and green with the peak amount of tannin for dyeing. If you ever tasted an unripe persimmon when it should have been soft and ripe you know what tannin tastes like.
This tree is grown for vinegar. It won’t be harvested until December. The vinegar was delicious mixed with some water.
A museum we stopped by had maybe 30 floor looms that local women were using to teach themselves various weaving techniques since there were no masters left to learn from. There was so much energy in the room even if the weavers weren’t there. It was thrilling to see. We asked several people how to find the museum and no one knew about it so it was good to see it alive and flourishing. The museum is the Fukuyama City Shinichi Mueum of History and Folklore. There were many old power looms on display and an exhibition on indigo textiles. Also archeological sites were shown from the area.
This is a machine for tying threads for ikat. That means that the threads are tied in patterns before dyeing so the tied areas will resist the dye. Then the threads are put on the loom to be woven and the patterns are then in the cloth. Many blue and white fabrics are patterned this way.