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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Textile with Ryūkyū-style ikhat pattern. Dyed and woven banana-tree fibre (abaca cloth, bashōfu).

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1979 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 35 centimetres
    • Length: 497 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Taira Toshiko was designed a ‘Living National Treasure’ by the Japanese Government in 2000 for her ‘abaca cloth’ (bashōfu technique). She has been the leading figure in reviving the banana-fibre cloth technique in postwar Okinawa. This technique was introduced to Okinawa in the thirteenth century from SE Asia. It all but died out during the Asia-Pacific war but was revived in a large measure through Taira Toshiko’s research, practise and teaching of the technique. This particular work is important for its beauty, traditional colours and patterning, excellence of technique, and because it was created by Taira herself rather than the collective that she leads.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2013 Apr – Oct, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    22 April 2013

    Reason for treatment

    Permanent Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Treat to prevent textile curling up when on display.


    The textile is in very good condition. It is however stored in its original wooden scroll box, tightly rolled on itself. The nature of the banana fibre means that it has a tendency to curl and re-roll itself when unrolled for display. Approximately 2 metres at the centre of the 5m length are required for display.

    Treatment details

    The textile was humidified on Goretex sheet in order to flatten and uncurl it. It was then re-rolled temporarily (for transit from conservation to gallery) on a wide 15cm diameter acid free cardboard roller, rolled in the opposite direction from original storage. It is hoped that this will counteract the tendency to curl, although it is felt inevitable that if stored rolled for long period of time this will occur. It was also recommended that for the display, the excess cloth at either end be rolled around a roller which will help add weight and tension to prevent curling.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Credit Line: Purchase funded by Noriko and Shigeru Myōjin and Dounia and Sherif Nadar

  • Department


  • Registration number


Textile with Ryukyu-style ikhat pattern. Dyed and woven banana-tree fibre (abaca cloth, bashofu).

Textile with Ryukyu-style ikhat pattern. Dyed and woven banana-tree fibre (abaca cloth, bashofu).

reproduced by permission of the artist' should be used © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description



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Object reference number: JCR22620

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