Continuing and developing the tradition by creating carpets that bring out the unique
texture of cotton, featuring designs ranging from the classical that was offered to the
Shogun to more contemporary patterns.
Nabeshima Dantsu is a carpet-weaving technique that originated in Persia. It was introduced to Japan from China via the Silk Road more than three-and-a-half centuries ago. Since then, it has developed into a traditional craft that has been enhanced with Japanese aesthetics, entailing a hint of exoticism. Made from quality cotton harvested in the reclaimed land of the domain of Nabeshima, the carpet was also presented as an offering to the Shogun who once ruled over Japan. It was not until the Meiji era (late 19th century) that the domain of Nabeshima disclosed the art and made it available to the general public. Yoshijima Shinich Nabeshima Dantsu Co., Ltd. was established when the Taisho era started (1912). In 1943, the firm was licensed by the Japanese government to pass down this traditional technique.
Today, the Yoshijima family carries on the tradename of “Honke Nabeshima Dantsu” as being the oldest Nabeshima Dantsu manufacturer and the only one among others that continues to inherit its hand-weaving techniques. Every day, the same rhythmical sounds of the looms can be heard from their workshop, just as it has for hundreds of years. It takes four to five months to complete one typically-sized carpet, of about the size of a tatami (75 by 38 inches), by hands. Each artisan is responsible for finishing their own carpet, with both Hiroko Yoshijima who is the fourth-generation weaver and her daughter Yuriko of the fifth generation also devoting themselves to the creation of these delicate weavings.
Because it is made with cotton, Nabeshima Dantsu feels light during the summer and soft in the winter. Cotton also makes the carpet less prone to being damaged by moth holes, and gives it an increasingly distinctive texture with the years of use. It can be enjoyed for a long period of time, so that even now, customers bring in their carpet that was made a hundred years ago for repair. Cotton threads suitable for making Nabeshima Dantsu carpets are meticulously dyed by hand, with new and contemporary Japanese-style colors being actively added to the traditionally used hues. The same can be said for the designs. In addition to the classical design known for being presented to the Shogun, the company is continuously taking on the challenge of coming up with new designs that give an innovative spin to motifs found in ancient literature and design plans, in addition to developing artistic designs that incorporate the aesthetic essence of textile dyeing artisans, ceramic artists and Japanese painters. Nabeshima Dantsu also answers requests for custom-made carpets, such as for smaller-sized carpets that better meet the needs of the modern living environment, by taking advantage of the flexibility made possible by hand-weaving. Nabeshima Dantsu is looking to evolve the possibilities of its traditional craftsmanship by expanding beyond its typical usage as a floor carpet into decorative use such as for tapestries, while being in harmony with contemporary architecture and aesthetics.
Yoshijima Shinich Nabeshima Dantsu Co., Ltd.
Umeno 209-1, Yamato-cho, Saga-shi,
Saga, 840-0203, JAPAN