The imagination of Hayao Miyazaki, captured in tapestry, can now be viewed by the public for a limited time.

Back in 2009, the craft of Aubusson tapestry, from the Creuse region of France, was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Described as a “gold standard throughout the world”, Aubusson tapestries involve weaving an image using 600-year-old techniques to produce rugs and large decorative wall hangings, and though the process is difficult and time-consuming, it produces jaw-dropping results.

The craft is so respected that Studio Ghibli, the acclaimed Japanese anime studio that flies the flag for traditional processes while fiercely protecting its works, allowed Aubusson’s Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie museum to create five Aubusson tapestries based on images from the animated films of director Hayao Miyazaki.

The first of the giant tapestries in the so-called “L’imaginaire d’Hayao Miyazaki en tapisserie d’Aubusson” (“The imagination of Hayao Miyazaki in Aubusson Tapestry) series depicts a forest scene from the 1997 film Princess Mononoke, and was unveiled in France in March 2022.

▼ Watch the live unveiling in this cued-up clip below.

▼ The second tapestry, unveiled in January last year, recreates a scene from the 2001 movie, Spirited Away.

▼ In April last year, the third work, featuring Howl’s Castle from Howl’s Moving Castle, was unveiled.

While the final two designs — featuring scenes from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and My Neighbour Totoro — are yet to be made public, the latest tapestry, showing Howl’s Moving Castle at dusk, has now made the journey from France to Japan for the very first time.

The five-metre (16.4-foot) square tapestry was unveiled at a ceremony at the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art on 1 July, with curators from Aubusson’s Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie and Studio Ghibli staff in attendance.

Ghibli’s Executive Officer, Shinsuke Nonaka, who was approached in 2018 by representatives from Aubusson for the project, praised the tapestry, saying, “Although it is elaborate, it has a warmth that can only be brought about by handmade processes, and its large size makes it very impressive.

After seeing it for the first time in Japan, Nonaka said he was glad to have agreed to the project, commenting on how well the film’s worldview had been captured in the tapestry.

▼ Shinsuke Nonaka

Given its size, the tapestry is impressive both up close and from a distance, which is good news for visitors to the museum, as it will be displayed in the lobby for a limited time.

The tapestry will be displayed from 2 July and will remain up for the duration of the “Friday Roadshow and Ghibli Exhibition” being held at the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art from 13 July to 25 September. The museum will be closed on 8 July, but aside from that day, members of the public will be able to view the giant tapestry even if they aren’t attending the Ghibli Exhibition, as tickets aren’t required to enter the lobby where it’s displayed.

As one of the few remaining anime studios creating animation by hand, it’s nice to see Studio Ghibli throwing its support behind other handmade crafts, and when it comes to supporting local Japanese arts and crafts, Ghibli has a wealth of experience there too!

Source. images: PR Times
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