Traditional Silk - Covered Folding Screen From Gunma Dedicated To Marriage Of Princess Noriko

Traditional silk-covered folding screen from Gunma dedicated to marriage of Princess NorikoA group of citizens from Gunma Prefecture presented a folding golden silk-covered screen to the Izumo Taisha grand shrine here in celebration of the recent marriage of one of its senior priests to Princess Noriko.

During a ceremony at the Karihaiden hall of Izumo Shrine on Nov. 11, the golden folding screen was unveiled for public with a dedicatory dance by a “miko” female shaman and a performance of traditional recorders by musicians.

“This screen is extremely stately and also has warmth,” said Kunimaro Senge, 41, the eldest son of the chief priest at the shrine, who married Noriko, 26, the second daughter of the late Prince Takamado, on Oct. 5. “We will place it in a room where many people can visit.”

The screen comprises six panels, each measuring 182 centimeters in height and 66 cm in width. It was manufactured by craftsmen in Gunma, the site of the historic Tomioka Silk Mill, which was added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage list earlier this year.

Chiaki Takei, 56, an architect from Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, who is trying to market silk-woven wallpaper to promote the local industry, once a historical hotbed for silk production, first suggested presenting the gift to the couple.

“I have heard that the Izumo area also has historical ties with a sericulture industry," Takei said. "Our gift will hopefully cast light on this unique usage of silk, which we hope will help revitalize the local economy.”

The folding screen uses “kibiso” silk yarn, which is made from the first harvests of silk and is known for its durability. The manufacturers coated golden washi paper with cloth made using yellow and brown kibiso threads to produce the stately screen.