Kyoto Kanoko Shibori

Shaped resist tie-dyeing, or shibori has been carried out for over a thousand years in Japan and was used for the patterns on court dress. It is known as kanoko shibori, or literally "fawn spot tie-dyeing" because of its resemblance to the spots on a young fawn.
From the Muromachi period (1333-1568) through to the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), the tsujigahana style of dyeing was extremely popular but by the middle of the Edo period, Kanoko shibori reached its Golden Age. Since then the skills of the shibori craftsman and woman have been passed on unfailingly from one generation to the next.

There are no other examples of tie-dyeing where the ties are as fine and accurate as they are in the kanoko shibori techniques known as hitta shibori and hitome shibori or have such a distinctive three dimensional quality. Patterns are expressed using a combination of the individual qualities of each technique. Kanoko shibori is used to create patterns on kimono cloths and obi sashes of different types as well as for a variety of other products including wall-hangings and various interior articles.


The refinement of the binding techniques employed in the hitta shibori and hitome shibori methods known as kanoko, as well as the unique three-dimensional effect produced by such binding, are unparalleled even among fabrics dyed with shibori techniques. Furthermore, the expressive power possessed by each individual binding technique is further enhanced in patterns produced by combining different techniques.

How to make

Rough sketches are drawn directly on the fabric which is then tied by craftsmen with individual expertise in each technique. Next, the fabric is dyed by immersion after “oke-shibori” and “boshi-shibori” (resist dyeing for multicolor dyeing) are performed. Then, the fabric is dried and the threads are removed. Finally the fabric is steamed and tentered.