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The History and Mastery of Kumihimo in Japan

Long time blog reader, Wayne Wiley, is a keen kumihimo braider. He has also traveled to many Asian destinations.  Recently, he shared this video with me.  You will have to follow the link to see it as I cannot embed here. This video is about the centuries old history of kumihimo in Kyoto where the art is particularly strong.

Kumihimo braids have a number of functions - decorative, functional and is even used in the making of talismans.  The Japanese aesthetic and craftmanship are truly admirable.  If they needed to make a cord to hold things, the Japanese will make it into a beautiful work of art at the same time.

The above video also shows how kumihimo played an important role in Japanese armor.

We are most familiar with the  round disc and square plates - which is based on a wooden version, the marudai or "round stool".  But traditional kumihimo involves all sorts of wooden looms.  Watch this modern master braid with a high loom (takadai or kodai). It looks like weaving but is technically a braid because each thread alternates at being the warp or the weft.

Kumihimo in the modern Kyoto can be seen in this video.  Did you know there are kumihimo machines today?

Before You Go:

Disclosure This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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  1. Thank you for the history lesson.

  2. What a great write-up. Glad you could make use of the video.

  3. Huge thanks to Wayne Wiley for the link to the Vimeo production.

    The beauty of the cords and their uses past and present are incredible. The peace and grace of creating the cords is instilled into each piece and obviously carries on for the duration of the cord itself. Such tradition and skill needs to be preserved through the ages. It would be a shame to lose such a skill.

    With the fascination of creating the cords in beads it's obvious that this technique will be passed down for another generation.

    Thank you so much for all the links. They were all captivating to watch and made me want to follow the history lesson to Japan myself.

    1. I love watching and reading about Japanese culture and art!!

  4. Hello, Pearl! The article on Kumihimo was absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing.


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