Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tenugui-bon or Book Bound Hand Towel

I bought a tenugui-bon or a towel folded and bound like a book in Tokyo a couple of years ago. As it came in a cardboard slip-case I put it spine out in my bookcase with my travel guides and novels about Japan and forgot about it until the other day. I remember purchasing it at Ito-ya, the famous stationery store. Their Ginza store has three buildings and it was at the small third store tucked behind the main store that I bought this tenugui-bon. I'd spent an hour looking at lovely handmade papers, selected several to purchase and was ready to pay when I noticed a small display of these towel books. Textile lover that I am I couldn't resist buying a couple of these fabric 'things' though I had no idea what they were used for. Also I recently realized, yes, a big DUH moment, that if I Googled the English word(s) that sometimes are on Japanese products I can find out more about them.

Slip case for the tenugui-bon with the English name of the company who makes them at the botton.

The front of the stencil dyed cotton tenugui-bon. Sado is one of the words for the Japanese tea ceremony. I had figured out this from looking at the pictures in the cloth book.

Close up.

Tea ceremony utensils. Look at the top third in the center and see the red thread which holds the cloth book together.

Back of the cloth book. Notice the red thread on the left near both the top and bottom of the book. One is supposed to clip these threads and open up the towel. I haven't done this yet as the book reminds me of a cloth book I had and loved as a child.

A small paper enclosure show what the cloth looks like opened up.


Sara said...

Very cool. I love what you used for your background as well.

Glenn, kenixfan said...

Very lovely. I wonder what these were like in different eras.

sbk said...

Hi Sara,

Thanks. The background is a bamboo placemat I bought on sale at Pier 1.

Hi Glenn,

I don't know for sure but think these are fairly recent. There's a big nostalgia craze in Japan now. You've probably noticed it in some of their movies.