Made from 100% cotton, the tenugui cloth can be used for a wide variety of daily purposes. Due to its excellent absorbency and quick-drying properties, the most common household use is that of a dish towel or washcloth, but the vivid patterns printed on the cloth allows it to be used for many other decorative purposes as well.
Skilled craftsmen use the traditional “Chusen” dyeing technique, a manual technique that creates a long lasting cloth that will continue to look and feel better with age and use. This technique was established in the Meiji period in Japan, with the dye being poured through the cloth in such a way that allows it to seep all the way through each strand.
The resulting patterns have no front or back, making each cloth completely reversible. The Chusen technique also allows the finished cloth to achieve excellent absorbency with quick-drying properties.
Tenugui purposes are not limited to that of a dish cloth or for cleaning. Because of the wide variety of appealing patterns, tenugui can be used as a decorative table runner or placemat, dress as a headband or scarf, or to wrap a precious item for preservation. Use it to wrap a gift, a lunch box, or even a sake bottle.
There is a tenugui pattern and style to suit every occasion and lifestyle.
To care for your tenugui, machine wash cold and hang to dry. With each wash it is inevitable that the dye will fade and the cloth will soften. This is a unique quality of the Chusen dyeing technique. As is normal for tenugui cloths, the edges are not hemmed and may fray when washed.
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KAMAWANU opened its first store in 1987 in a quiet Tokyo alleyway, and today has stores all across Japan with over 250 varieties of tenugui in stock at any given time. They believe in an ideology of revisiting the old to learn the new and have embraced the wisdom of the “Tenugui”, a versatile traditional cloth designed to be used for many years and for many different purposes.
They use a mix of traditional and original patterns featuring seasonal motifs taken from nature. Each traditional motif has a meaning or a reflection of people’s wishes: for example, the hemp leaf pattern reflects a wish for a child to grow healthy, whereas the Seigaiha (wave crest) pattern reflects a desire for tranquility. KAMAWANU also designs fresh patterns in the hopes that they will form a new tradition and be cherished for the next 100 years.
Traditional Chusen dyeing method used on tenugui may cause colour to run upon initial wash. Machine-wash or hand wash separately in cold water. Do not bleach. Avoid soaking. Dry in shade.
It is the characteristics of a tenugui cloth for the raw material edge to be left unfinished. Fabric fraying will gradually lessen over several wash cycles.
Tenugui is a thin and versatile Japanese hand towel. Typically, tenugui cloths are about 35 by 90 centimetres (14” x 36”) in size, made of plain woven lightweight fabric, often cotton or linen. A Japanese household staple since the Heian period, they can be used for a wide variety of daily purposes due to its excellent absorbency and quick-drying properties. Although the most common household use is that of a dish towel or washcloth.
To create a long lasting cloth that will continue to look and feel better with age and use, tenugui is made by skilled craftsmen and dyed using the traditional “Chusen” dyeing technique. This technique was established in the Meiji period in Japan, the dye is poured through the cloth in such a way that allows it to seep all the way through each strand. The resulting textile has no front or back, making each tenugui reversible. Usually the long sides are finished with a selvage, and the short sides are left unfinished which will show some fraying. If stray threads are unravelling, you can easily trim it with scissors and eventually a soft, frayed edge will develop.
Due to the wide variety of appealing patterns or colours that tenugui are available in, it allows it to be used for many decorative purposes. It can be used in home decor as a table runner or placemat; worn as a headband or scarf; used to wrap a precious item for preservation or to wrap a gift, a lunch box, or a sake bottle. Beautiful and functional, tenugui is an excellent tool for every occasion and lifestyle
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