Ainu tunic made from attush. Mid-19th century. Ainu tunic made from attush. Mid-19th century. © Trustees of the British Museum, acc. no. AOA 1885.1219.19.

Attush is a form of bark cloth made from the inner fibre of the elm tree bark (Ulmus genus). Attush was traditionally made by the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan. Young trees were cut down and stripped of their inner bark. The bark was soaked in water, then bleached and dried in the sun.

The fibres were taken from the bark and separated and twisted into a skein. Women then wove the fibres into a thick, light brown coloured cloth on backstrap looms. The cloth was used to make garments that they decorated with appliqué and embroidery.

See also the TRC Needles entry on Ainu decorative needlework.


British museum online catalogue (retrieved 27 June 2016).


Last modified on Thursday, 27 April 2017 08:27
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