Kumihimo, the Japanese art of braiding, has a long and fascinating history. My past post on The History and Mastery of Kumihimo in Japan  included a video on modern kumihimo machines.

But handmade braids are still crafted today by kumihimo masters.  Vblogger, Kotaro Tanaka, shared a series of short clips where he filmed one such master at work.

The videos are in Japanese with no English subtitles. However, it is a pleasure to just watch this master at work.

The first video does not show any braiding but how he prepares the cords.....all by hand. Contrast that with the modern winding machines!  He often works with groups of fine silk cords which results in thicker braids.

Part 1

It really gets interesting in the next video as he starts to use different looms including the high loom, the takadai. Some of them look really old. Even the wooden bobbins are time worn.  The simplest one is square shaped. The work in progress goes upwards!  Notice how he uses a thick wire or stick called the "shin" in the middle of the braid to help keep its shape.

Part 2

The silver and gold braid being created in the last part is downright gorgeous. His graceful movements are deft and sure.  The purple braid is masterful as he braids together what looks like other braids.

He also demonstrates how he finishes the braid by added extra tassels to the ends. He checks over the braid and trims off ends which poke out and then flame seals the braid itself.

I share one commenter's sentiments.  She said, "Sits with foam disk and pathetic bracelet while watching this video Sigh.... "

Part 3

Before You Go:

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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