Discovering Chiso, from Kyoto, specialist in kyo yūzen

Chiso, at Homo Faber, the biennial of crafts in Venice

Homo Faber magic in Venice’s 2022 edition where Atelier Ikiwa was lucky enough to spend a few days: meeting with the craftsmen of Chiso, specialists since 1555 in Kyoto, Japan, of a very particular textile painting technique, the kyo yūzen (kyo for Kyoto, the yūzen being also used, differently, in other regions of Japan), used mainly for the realisation of kimonos. The technique is breathtaking!

A unique technique

The motifs, of flowers, plants, birds, are drawn by hand on the white silk, and a fine wax line is applied to their outlines, before a rice paste is placed on all the areas to be protected from the dye, which is then applied with a brush to the whole surface. Each design is hand-painted in a multitude of deep, vivid colours, and gold leaf or powder and embroidery are usually added to some motifs. Each kimono takes more than 6 months to come to life, and each stage (there are 20!) is carried out by a different master craftsman or craftswoman, a fabulous distribution of work according to the mastery of a very precise and unique gesture.

For Homo Faber Chiso also exhibits beautiful kimonos, including 2 extraordinary furisode (long-sleeved kimonos, for unmarried women).

The universality of crafts

Chiso, located opposite Hermès in the "Details: Genealogies of Ornament" space of this magnificent 2022 edition of Homo Faber, the spectacular biennial of master craftsmanship, reminds us that the mastery of the gesture is a work of patience, of conviction, the recognition of which goes far beyond the cultural borders of a country, but is on the contrary a universal treasure to be preserved and shared.

A moment of absolute grace...

Discover the Chiso technique (video)

A guide in French to Kyoto's crafts and design addresses