Yesterday we drove north on the island to a theme park - not the roller-coaster sort but a place where they have moved old Okinawan houses to form a sort of village. This has lots of artisans working in it. The photo is of one of the terracotta guard dogs at the entrance. He is about two foot high. Most Okinawan places have a pair at the door. Even our hotel which is very new has two!
There was quite a lot going on in the way of dancing and music. The audience was expected to join in the dancing and it was quite fun to watch very old visitors suddenly leading the dance. A great deal of happiness all round.
The attraction for me was the weaving and this is Hana-ori which I think means 'Flower weaving'. The piece of cardboard at the top is the weaver's shuttle.At the bottom centre you can see the treadles. in fact there were only two main shafts and most of the weaving was tabby.
The two main shafts are to the left but in the centre are two additional shafts, and some of the threads go through a heddle on two shafts, a main one and an additional one.
Sorry about the photo - the camera got fogged up
Here you see the weaver operating one of the additional shafts with her foot. Below the loops of cord for the additional shafts are the two treadles for the main shafts.
There is a great distance between the main shafts and the fell line. And there is a system of moving the reed. The reed is in a wooden support which slots into one of the grooves along the top edge of the loom. And when the fell line is getting close to the reed, the weaver picks up the reed support and slots it into a groove further back. The spacing between grooves is about 2 inches. One drawback of this type of weaving is that there are enormous floats on the back.
We then went off to Yomitan Village and tracked down a factory which still weaves Hana-ori commercially. The piece in the theme park was very narrow and not very complicated. In the factory, they were using much the same sort of loom but producing very complex kimono lengths. Very attractive. So I bought a decent sized piece there but, as usual, it was whipped away for wrapping before I could take a photograph. We could not take photos of the stuff on show or of the workers and their looms but there were about a dozen looms.
When I get back home, I will do a fabric analyisis of the piece I have bought. I reckon it could be done on the Megado. Today we are off to the islands on a ferry boat.