Embroidery was first imported to Japan from China in Nara period (710-784) accompanying Buddhism culture. When Buddhism was brought in Kaga area, current Ishikawa prefecture, embroidery also followed.
Decoration for Buddhism goods such as Kesa (Buddhist priest robes) and Uchishiki (altar clothes) is called “Shogon”, and has been worshiped as honorable ritual article.
Kaga Nui started in Muromachi period (1336-1573) when Buddhism culture gained its popularity in this area. Later in Edo era (1603-1867), Kaga Nui artisans developed their own loveliness under the support of domain leaders who encouraged culture and literature. Kaga Nui became to be used not only for “Shogon”, but also for special clothes and goods for shogun, domain leaders, and their wives.
Since Kaga area has been produced good quality gold, the use of gold thread is especially eye drawing. Combining with silver thread and colorful silk thread, artisans can create beautiful patterns and designs with stuffy texture. As a result of hand sewing, the designs and atmosphere are just delicate and splendid.
After the shogunate ended, artisans kept creating good designs for western clothes, such as handkerchief and linings, and also kept developing their techniques. Currently, about 15 special techniques are succeeded.
To adopt the tradition into modern culture, drawings and tapestries are now also created by Kaga Nui techniques. It also has been used to decorate interior goods, such as lampshades, for additional ornamentation.
Kaga Nui was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1991.