Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Sacred and Ceremonial Textiles: Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Chicago, Illinois, 1996. (Minneapolis, 1997).


Copyright 1996 by the author.


Unlike luxurious silk cloth that was carefully cut and sewn together in a prescribed manner, banners that were offered to rural, syncretic Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in the Uonuma-gun region of Niigata Prefecture were lengths of locally produced ramie cloth inscribed with sumi ink and dedicated primarily by the women weavers who produced them. Whether observed in situ in a neighborhood shrine or temple or viewed in a museum setting, these ramie offertory banners, called hogake, honabata, or hono nobori, are exemplary artifacts. The environmental, social, and economic aspects of the lives of their rural makers are literally woven into an efficient, creative, and whole cloth.