• Japanese: 花氈 (kasen)

Kasen are a type of wool rugs associated with nomadic horse-riding peoples of Central Asia. Indispensable items for their nomadic lifestyle, kasen first entered Japan via China and Korea in the 8th century; the oldest surviving examples in Japan, and perhaps in the world, are included in the collections of the Shôsôin Imperial Archive.

The rugs are produced through a process in which wool was first dyed, then arranged into patterns around a bamboo understructure. When the bamboo understructure was taken away and moisture added, the wool contorted and wove itself together. 


  • Gallery labels, Shôsôin exhibition, Tokyo National Museum, Nov 2019.