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Tamiya Raden (民谷螺鈿) had this stunning silk kimono on display for us. "Raden" means inlay (using shell, ivory, etc.). Typically, we think of lacquerware, but they do it on fabrics. This kimono took 2.5 years to make and is worth more than a Lamborghini or Rolls Royce.
Company president Tamiya Kyoji answered our many questions about this amazing kimono. His father Tamiya Katsuichiro took two years to develop and invent a method to inlay shell pieces in fabrics and showed their first example on a kimono obi sash in 1977.
The kimono was woven with pearly shell pieces from five species of oysters. Might be hard to see which parts of the kimono are the shell inlay, but the shiny parts are not the shell pieces. Very glittery.
Pearly shells used in their fabrics.
First they attach the thin shell/pearly layers on a design on washi paper.
It's a painstaking, time-consuming process.
The completed design on washi paper is then sliced into "threads" that will be woven into the fabric.
Working on an obi sash.
Working on an obi sash.
Tamiya Raden also makes kimono obi sashes.They also supply fabrics to world-famous luxury brands, but they can't brag about it because of a non-disclosure agreement.
This is a replica of an obi sash that was selected and worn by Empress Michiko recently for her birthday.The company is especially proud of this, but can't publicly brag about it. (The empress does not know who made the obi. She just liked the design.)
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