Kushutara Technique

Kushutara means brocaded dress, and refers to cloth decorated with the intricate kushu techniques, involving discontinuous supplementary wefts. The most prized are woven with silk patterning on a silk ground, but silk on cotton is also common, and other combinations of yarn fibres are sometimes used.

Bhutanese refer to two types of kushu techniques: Thrima and Sapma. Both are woven by lifting selected threads with a pickup stick before inserting the supplementary weft threads in such a way that the stitches only show on the front of the fabric.

What I did not understand until I was taught to weave kushu is that this is achieved by dividing the main shed with a thin sword or bamboo rod, so that the brocaded stitches are only worked through a sub-set of the warp threads lifted by the main heddle.

What is visible on the back of this cloth are all the ends of the supplementary threads, sometimes so much that it looks like shag pile carpet.

Threads showing on the back

The raised finish is more the result of the Thrima stitches

Bamboo keepers for divided sheds

Bamboo keeper brought forward to divide lower warp threads

Thin sword inserted into sub-shed

Heddles for some japang designs only raise one out of every 4 or 6 threads

For further details of working thrima and sapma, see Thrima Technique and Sapma Technique   

Or see videos of Kushutara

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  1. Pingback: 2019 additions to my Bhutanese collection | Textile Trails

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