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Bast Fibers of the World

November 28, 2019 - March 14, 2020

     This exhibition focuses on bast-fiber textiles, introducing fabrics that are made of plant fibers collected from all over the world, mainly from Africa and Japan. The cloth shown on the front page of the catalog looks like a Paul Klee painting but was woven by Bushoong tribe people from Kuba Kingdom, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This appliquéd skirt, called N'tchak, is an important cloth used as womens’ costume and also as a shroud. It is made of raffia palm fibers.

     In Japan, local bast-fibers such as taima (hemp), choma (ramie), shina (linden), fuji (wisteria), bashô (banana fiber) and kudzu (Japanese arrowroot) had been widely used before cotton became common to everyday clothing. We can feel the strength of bast-fiber textiles, emanating from the beauty of materials and the patterns produced by those materials. We hope that this exhibition will be the opportunity to rethink the profound relationship between human beings and nature, a relationship that has become more and more tenuous in our contemporary world.