Taka-dai – plain weave

May 29, 2009

Plain Weave

A plain weave braid done on the takadai, a blast from the past. Done in blue, red and ochre Praslon commercial 2/20 weaving yarn, with generic white and pink added, my aim primarily was to get the switching diagonals right in terms of tension of course, but the change in colour hints at ungen, the traditional Japanese ombre colour change from dark to light. Ungen is used a lot, especially dark red through pink to white, in the Heian Period and as a common treatment of colour from then down through the ages to the present in Japan – not just in braiding, but in dyeing. The most vivid example of ungen in dyeing that I can recall is dramatic purple done on white silk as a background for large embroidered flowers, used in over-sized theatrical bugaku costumes, in the treasury of Shitennoji Temple in Osaka. This is one of my earliest taka-dai braids and is done thick and almost 2″ wide, with 100gm bobbins. The instructions come from Makiko Tada’s first book of taka-dai braids and the genre is dealt with very extensively in Rodrick Owen’s taka-dai book.

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