Friday, 4 September 2015

The attractive TENUGUI world –TENUGUI history

For the last two weeks on Fridays, I wrote about how I got interested in TENUGUI and my TENUGUI making experience in Japan. Today I will write about TENUGUI history. Some of this information is also on my website at nuno and stitch, but I think it's so fascinating that I wanted to share it here too, as well as a little about my own history with TENUGUI.

image from Wikipedia

The history of TENUGUI dates back almost 1300 years. They used to be made from hemp or silk and were mainly used for religious rituals. Back then, Japan imported cotton from China, making it an even more luxurious commodity than silk. About 400 years ago Japanese people started to cultivate their own cotton. Cotton kimono and cotton TENUGUI became very popular. In those days, many people used TENUGUI when going to the public baths, to cover their head from dust, or as a sweat towel.

image from Wikipedia

As TENUGUI became more popular, people started to care more about the designs too. There was a TENUGUI design competition called "Tenugui- Awase" and a special dyeing technique called "Chusen" was developed to create colourful TENUGUI.


When I grew up, my family used TENUGUI just as hand towels. They were usually a pretty plain mameshibori (navy dots) pattern or had newspaper or insurance company names on them. (Those companies often used TENUGUI as a novelty). But now TENUGUI have changed to become something much more attractive. There are so many colours and designs! Some of them are so artistic that you can just put them on your wall for decoration.

image from Wikipedia

TENUGUI have been much loved by Japanese people for a long time. It’s handy. It dries quickly and it’s hygienic. It's very versatile and easy to store. The more you use it, the softer it gets. You can also enjoy the changing colours after washing it.  It would be lovely if they are loved by people in Australia too!


With love,


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