UNESCO The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Yuki tsumugi is a Japanese silk-weaving technique found principally in Yuki City and Oyama City, along the Kinu River, Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo. The region boasts a warm climate and fertile lands, which are ideal for the growth of mulberry trees and sericulture. The Yuki tsumugi technique is employed to produce pongee silk (also called raw silk) – a light and warm material with a characteristic stiffness and softness, traditionally used to make kimonos. Production of the material includes several stages: silk floss is spun into yarn by hand, with patterns added by hand-tying bundles of yarn before dyeing the yarn, then the silk is woven using a back-tension loom. The silk floss for the yarn in Yuki tsumugi weaving is produced from empty or deformed silkworm cocoons, otherwise unusable for the production of silk yarn. This recycling process plays a significant role in supporting local sericulture communities. The traditional techniques to produce Yuki tsumugi are transmitted by members of the Association for the Preservation of Honba Yuki tsumugi Weaving Technique. This association is directly engaged in maintaining traditions of spinning, dyeing and weaving, passed down from generation to generation within the community. It promotes transmission of Yuki-tsumugi through exchange of skills, training of young weavers, and practical demonstrations.