布の生産と「伝統」の創出 : 奈良晒保存・伝承活動をめぐるジェンダー・世代・力
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Cloth Production and the Invention of "Tradition" : Gender, Generation and Power in the Hemp Cloth Preservation Activities
In recent years, there has been a resurgence in textile arts which use natural fibers (Creighton 1994; 1995, Cort 1983 ). Many of these activities emphasize the importance of keeping the tradition of the pre-industrial past. Using Eric Hobsbawm's idea of "inventing tradition," (1983 ) this paper reexamines the concept of the "tradition" associated with hemp cloth (Nara Sarashi) production.
The production of Nara Sarashi reached its peek in the Edo-period. The cloth was used as material for kimonos which were worn by Samurai. With the abolishment of the Samurai system, demand for the cloth decreased drastically. However, hemp fiber continued to be spun and woven by farm women in the mountain villages in Nara as an important cash-earning activity till the Second World War. In the 1970's, after production had almost completely ceased, the techniques of spinning and weaving Nara Sarashi were designated as Intangible Cultural Assets by Nara Prefecture. An association run by a group of elderly volunteers was established to preserve and teach the techniques and knowledge of the Nara Sarashi production.
This paper compares the labor processes through which the hemp cloth was produced in the pre-war era and in the current preservation and education activities. The paper discerns changes in the meanings of the cloth and its production between these two periods by analyzing gender, generation and power issues involved in them. In the pre-war era even when factory production had yet to emerge, the influence of capitalism and fierce compretition among weavers worked to lower labor costs. The spinning and weaving were symbols of hard work and labor exploitation for farm women. In contrast to the motives of weavers in the past, the members of the association today do not seek economic profit. These days, members interpret their activity as a cultural mission of publicizing Nara Sarashi. They find greatest reward in meeting people interested in Nara Sarashi and in exchanging ideas.
The paper argues that the members of the association have indeed invented a tradition which places a high value an hand-weaving and spinning. However, this was done not because they have continued the "old-ways" of the production of the pre-war era, but by transforming the nature of the production from an economic activity to a cultural and social activity. Because they are not seeking economic profit, the time and complexity involved in the hand-weaving and spinning have also been transformed into a symbol of meticulous care instread of hardship.
広島大学総合科学部紀要. I, 地域文化研究