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WHAT DOES “TSUJIGAHANA” MEAN?
The term tsujigahana starts out vague and grows a bit more so as we delve further. You’ll find that the Japanese use the term to refer to a great many different techniques, but they all have the same general aesthetic in common. So let ’s just take it bit by bit.
woven silk tsuji.jpg
The characters for tsujigahana are 辻が花. The first character, (tsuji), means crossroads. You’ll see it used in other compounds such as 辻堂 (tsujidou, a wayside shrine), 辻店 (tsujimise, roadside stall), or the hopefully extinct custom of 辻取り (tsujitori, an archaic term meaning taking a wife by kidnapping a woman passing by on the road ). (ga) is a term used to link two words, and (hana) means flower. So simply translated it means flower by the side of the road. Or less literally, an idea or technique that springs forth at the convergence of two traditions. While this is not a term that describes a specific process, it does cover a general look. I ’ve tried to include a range of samples to help you develop a sense of the the Japanese notion of the design style. Many more may be found at the bottom of this article.
woven silk tsuji 3.JPG
woven silk (collection of the author)
woven silk tsumugi (collection of the author)
shibori brown.jpg
shibori all tsuji 1.jpg
paste printed tsuji 2.JPG
all shibori on silk tsumugi
(collection of the author)
printed or brushed paste along with painted background on silk tsumugi (collection of the author)
all shibori on silk rinzu (collection of the author)
printed tsuji 1.jpg
And that’s about it! Any time you see a flower (or leaves, birds, etc.) drawn, painted, woven, or carved in this style it may legitimately be called tsujigahana.

The style itself is said to have become popular in the Muromachi Period (c.e. 1336 to 1573) – this is the time that the famous Kinkaku Temple was built, Edo (old Tokyo) was established, Europeans arrived, and firearms were introduced. It was a busy time.
kinkakuji.jpg
During this period very high levels of weaving had been achieved, but not a lot in terms of surface design. Techniques such as shibori and direct painting had been around at least as far back as the Nara Period (roughly most of the 700 ’s). It was during the Muromachi period that combining the two into whimsical imagery became popular.
kubota.jpg
Kinkaku Temple, Kyoto, Japan
During the mid and late 1900’s, the artist Itchiku Kubota worked to revive interest in this style and expand upon the technique. It is primarily through his efforts that those of us in the West became familiar with this form of artistry.
fully printed on silk chirimen (collection of the author)
the late Itchiku Kuboto
Additional Shots
woven tsuji 13.jpg
woven silk tsuji 2.jpg
printed tsuji 4.JPG
woven loop velvet, silk and metallic threads
(collection of the author)
woven silk jacquard, silk and metallic threads
(collection of the author)
fully printed on silk rinzu
 (collection of the author)
pasted tsuji 2.JPG
printed all tsuji 1.JPG
tsutsugaki tsuji.JPG
 tsutsugaki-pasted outlines and painted background on silk chirimen
 (collection of the author)
fully printed on silk chirimen (collection of the author)
fully printed on silk rinzu
 (collection of the author)
shibori with embroidery 1.JPG
painted and embroidered tsuji.JPG
batik tsuji.JPG
wax resist and shibori on silk, painted stamens
(collection of the author)
shibori with gold-leafed grasses and hand-embroidered flowers
(collection of the author)
hand painted on kinshi with hand-embroidered details
(collection of the author)
shibori and hand paint tsuji 5.jpg
painted tsuji 12.JPG
shibori and hand paint 3.JPG
hand-painted image on silk tsumugi chirimen
 (collection of the author)
all shibori and hand-painted details (collection of the author)
kanoko- and nui-shibori on silk rinzu with hand-painted details
 (collection of the author)
RIMG0038.JPG
copyright John Marshall, 2015
shibori and hand-painted image on silk chirimen
 (collection of the author)
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