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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Toshiko Taira (平良 敏子, Taira Toshiko, born February 14, 1921) is an Okinawan textile artist who creates Kijoka-bashofu, a cloth made from the fiber of the Musa basjoo, a kind of banana tree. Taira has been recognized as a Living National Treasure since 2000.


Taira was born on February 14, 1921 in Kijoka, Ogimi, Okinawa. As a child, she learned to weave cotton and kijoka-bashofu from her mother.[1][2] In 1944, Taira worked at a spinning mill in Kurashiki, Okayama.[3] At the encouragement of the mill's owner, Soichiro Ohara, she began to study under Kichinosuke Tonomura, the head of a folk art museum.[4] During this time she was heavily influenced by the mingei movement.[5] When she returned to Okinawa in 1946 she found that many of the banana trees had been cut down or died,[3] and was determined to revitalize both the trees and the art of kijoka-bashofu that uses them.[6]

After World War II, there was less demand for kimono made from kijoka-bashofu than before the war. Taira made table runners and cushions from coarse fibers, but what criticized for bringing down the quality associated with kijoka-bashofu.[7] After receiving that criticism, she worked more frequently with the finer fibers.[7] She also had a few exhibits of her work during this period. Taira opened a bashofu textile studio in 1963 and hired some local weavers so that she could centralize and increase production.[1][7]

Kijoka-bashofu was named an Important Intangible Cultural Property in 1974. The Kijoka Basho-fu Industrial Cooperative Association was established in 1984, and soon after that in 1986, the Ogimi Village Bashofu Hall opened and began offering training.[5] In 2000, Taira was recognized as a Living National Treasure.[8] In 1992 and 2002 she was awarded an Order of the Precious Crown.[1]

Several museums hold her works in their collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art[8] and the British Museum.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Toshiko Taira". GALLERY JAPAN. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  2. ^ McCarty, Cara; McQuaid, Matilda; N.Y.), Museum of Modern Art (New York (1998). Structure and Surface: Contemporary Japanese Textiles. The Museum of Modern Art. ISBN 9780870700767.
  3. ^ a b "Presenting the Power of Okinawa "Power of Textiles"". VISIT OKINAWA JAPAN. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  4. ^ 日本人名大辞典+Plus, デジタル版. "平良敏子(たいら としこ)とは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  5. ^ a b "Basho-fu - Kyoto Women's University, Lifestyle Design Laboratory". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  6. ^ "芭蕉布の里(en) | 大宜味村". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  7. ^ a b c Hendrickx, Katrien (2007). The Origins of Banana-fibre Cloth in the Ryukyus, Japan. Leuven University Press. ISBN 9789461660497.
  8. ^ a b "Small Birds of the Ocean (Ai-kōzaa umi tōiguwaa) Kimono". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  9. ^ "textile". British Museum. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
This page was last edited on 21 October 2020, at 00:18
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