Paris exhibition to feature Empress Michiko's silkworm cultivation

January 10, 2014

By AYAKO NAKADA/ Staff Writer

An exhibition featuring Empress Michiko’s silkworm cultivation at the Imperial Palace will be held in Paris from Feb. 19 to April 5.

The exhibition, at Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris, will be the first of its kind held outside Japan.

It will introduce sericulture, part of Michiko’s duty handed down from previous empresses, and the finest quality “nishiki” brocade, made from the silk thread produced at the sericulture farm on the grounds of the Imperial Palace, the Imperial Household Agency said.

Photos and videos of the empress engaging in silkworm production and harvesting last year will be shown, as well as Koishimaru cocoons, a Japanese silk species grown at the request of the empress.

In addition, more than 50 items, including a replica of nishiki armrests used by Emperor Shomu (701-756) will be on display.

“I hope to help hand down the silk culture method our ancestors steadily accumulated to another generation so that the technology to create such a beautiful product, silk, from silkworms, will never be lost in Japan,” an agency official quoted Michiko as saying.

The official said the agency and the empress are discussing the content of the exhibition.

Empress Shoken (1849-1914), the wife of Emperor Meiji, started silk culture at the Imperial Palace to promote the key industry for Japan.

Since taking over the duty in 1990 from Empress Kojun (1903-2000), the wife of Emperor Showa (1901-1989), Michiko has grown silkworms and harvested cocoons from spring to early summer every year at the sericulture farm.

The empress hand-feeds the worms mulberry leaves and transfers them to “mabushi,” straw frames where the silkworms spin their cocoons.

By AYAKO NAKADA/ Staff Writer
  • 1
submit to reddit
Empress Michiko moves silkworms to a frame where they will spin cocoons on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in this photo taken May 2012. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

Empress Michiko moves silkworms to a frame where they will spin cocoons on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in this photo taken May 2012. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

Toggle
  • Empress Michiko moves silkworms to a frame where they will spin cocoons on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in this photo taken May 2012. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)

More AJW