Kumihimo Artists

Kumihimo Dragon

Making Kumihimo

My Kumihimo BraidOur next stop was the home/studio of kumihimo artists Mitsuo Nakao and his wife. They are 4th generation kumihimo artists. They make silk tassels for Shinto shrines, festivals and temples. They also make silk cords for jewelry. Historically, the husahimo are cords made for the castles. Adding the tassles increases the value of the cording. For Zen temples, the knotting patterns used in the tassels are dependent on the sect, but green is always the color at the top of the tassel. For sumo wrestlers, the colors are different depending on the rank of the wrestler. The highest ranking sumo wrestler wears a purple cord and tassel.

The loom for making kumihomo is called a kakudai. I may have misspelled this word. Mr. Nakao let me braid a simple braid on his kakudai. Then Mrs. Nakao went off and added a loop, a gold knot, and a tassle and gave it to me as a gift. What a sweet beautiful gesture! She also gave everyone a gold knot with a loop. The Japanese love to give gifts (omiyage).

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