Golden Brocade Islamic Prayer RugsMiddle East, etc. Sales by Kyoto-based Textile Manufacturers
Rugs for Muslims to use during worship have been produced by a Kyoto-based textile manufacturer which weaves Nishijin-style golden brocade. Taking advantage of the same weaving width between prayer rugs and golden brocade, classical patterns used for Buddhist robes have been incorporated into the rugs' design. The manufacturer is making efforts to open up new markets in order to promote the rugs to the affluent population in the Middle East and Southeast Asia who prefer upscale products.
Kaji Kinran Co., Ltd., based in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, was founded in 1980. It produces Mizuhiki cords, the ancient applied art of tying various knot styles with special cords, and brocade to decorate the upper sides and the side columns of temples, and Buddhist ritual articles, as well as Buddhist robes and other clerical garments for Buddhist priests.
As the boom in tourism to Japan has also brought an increasing number of Muslims, Kaji Kinran sought to provide some products using Kyoto's traditional techniques. It focused on prayer rugs. As they are also textile products, and the Islamic world's arabesque resembles the golden brocade's classical designs, the manufacturer found it easy to apply their techniques and designs to rugs. Another decisive factor was that the weaving width of ordinary rugs is approximately 70 centimeters, which is the same width as golden brocade.
As designs and the raw materials of yarn for prayer rugs are strictly regulated, Kaji Kinran consulted with the Islam Culture Center, Kamigyo Ward. After hearing Muslims' opinions directly, the company made samples one after another. It has placed particular importance on the overall design. Usually prayer rugs are designed with large patterns and a limited variety of colors, but the company has made the most of the characteristics of Nishijin weaving which produces colorful and finely detailed patterns. It has also manufactured patterns with designs of flowers from the four seasons in Japan, such as chrysanthemums, cherry blossoms and so on.
Since Kaji Kinran exhibited its rugs in a halal product fair in Japan, it has participated in exhibitions in Dubai, Indonesia and other countries. Their gorgeous appearance is so popular that sometimes local people purchase them in bulk, or the company receives orders on the spot. Noriyuki Suzuki, the company's president, said, "The similarity of arabesques is evidence of the ancient connection between Middle East and Japan. We would like to promote products that unite the two cultures."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)