Kyosudare is a hand-woven bamboo blind, which is known as a luxury item. Today, most of these handmade blinds are made in Kyoto. It is a traditional furnishing item to create a cool and elegant atmosphere.
The origin of Kyosudare is Misu (literally meaning “Holy Blind”), an indispensable item at the Imperial Palace in the Heian period (794-1192). Since Misu were forbidden to be used for the homes of the townspeople, they used bamboo blinds with no edgings.
Bamboo blinds have been passed down through the ages as an art craft in Kyoto, where there are many shrines, temples, restaurants and other traditional places. After the Meiji period (1868-1912), the square angular bamboo rods became rounded and Zashiki-sudare (an interior blind), which had edges on all four sides, came to be known as Kyosudare and spread nationwide.
The reed blinds, whose materials come from the eastern shore of Lake Biwa, are thought to be especially of high-quality. Its practicality as a partition and sun shade and its charming design has made it a popular product, which has been exported to the West as well.
Hanging ornaments such as these are known as 'tsurushi (hanging) kazari' or 'tsurushi hina'. These ornaments have been part of traditional culture since the Edo period, and the custom is rooted in the Izu-Inatori Onsen region. During the Hina (Girls) Festival, parents prayed for their daughter's happiness through a thread taken from a piece of old clothing. It is this hina hanging ornament that swings from both sides of the tiered stand used for the presentation of the hina dolls.
This custom is called 'sagemon' in Yanagawa, Kyushu, 'kasafuku' in Sakata, Yamagata, and 'hanging hina' in Izu-Inatori. Only these three districts have inherited this historical patrimony, documents and photos.
People entrust their wishes to the ornament. Some 110 ornaments have separate meanings. For example, the red eyes of a rabbit are supposed to have the power of causing and curing diseases. A rabbit is said to be the servant of a deity.
It is lots of fun to decorate with ornaments that suit each season. Your favorite small objects will colour your life and enrichen your heart.
This is a cabinet with doors made of flat bamboo material.
Most bamboo crafts have a softly curved shape that takes advantage of its elasticity. It is rare to use flat bamboo material for furniture like this. The way the bamboo is woven is called hemp-leaf weaving: three thin bamboos are run through a hexagonal bamboo shape that looks like a hemp leaf.
The cabinet is finished with coloring from carbonization; that is, the bamboo is turned to a dark brown shade after exposure to high-temperature and pressure steam.
The cabinet is finished with urushi (Japanese lacquer) that is layered on cloth pasted to the body. The colors of urushi and the carbonized bamboo create an impression of long-cherished antique furniture.
■ Cabinet (for private use)
・ hemp-leaf weaving, carbonization-coloring
・designed by ＭＬＩＮＡＲＩＣ ＨＥＮＲＹ ＆ ＺＥＲＶＵＤＡＣＨＩ ＬＴＤ
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
Suruga Sensuji bamboo ware is a traditional handicraft made in Shizuoka Pref. “Sensuji” means 1,000 thin bamboo strips. This craft dates back to the early Edo period (1603-1868), when warriors in the Okazaki domain (present-day Shizuoka Pref.) began to make woven hats for hunting and traveling using bamboo instead rattan, because rattan hats were expensive in those days. As the bamboo hats gained popularity, there were about 40 warriors who were engaged in this craft as a side job. In the early days, the products were “cheap and nasty,” but they gradually became superior in quality through improvements. Eventually Suruga bamboo ware rose in popularity all over the nation. Suruga Sensuji bamboo ware is characterized by the use of thin round strips to make it delicate and gentle. It is designated as a Traditional Handicraft by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Katsuyama bamboo basketry is a practical form of craftwork made in Katsuyama, Maniwa city, Okayama Prefecture. The derivation of this craft is unknown, yet it was originally called “Bam boo basketry of Tsukita”. Its most representative piece, the “souke” basket has been used for a long time. From bamboo work such as “cho zouki”, we can deduce that the basics were established in the late-Edo period. In 1979, Katsuyama basketry was designated as a Traditional Form of Craftwork. In addition to the sweet odor of the bamboo and the beauty of the woven bamboo, it has the attractions of fine skill, usability in daily life, and the synthesis of beauty and craftwork. The basketry is mainly made for agricultural and kitchen usage. This practical craft has continued to be made since the creation of the “souke” and “Meshizouke” baskets. Also, it is nice to see the bamboo basketry after it has been varnished and turned a candy color with continued use.
The making of the hanging bamboo blinds called sudare dates back to Heian period (794−1192). It is referred to in the Manyoshu. The origin of sudare is said to be misu, which was used as a partition or interior decoration at the imperial court. The making of sudare at Osaka district started at Shindo Village (a part of the present Tondabayashi City) in around 1655. Since quality bamboo is obtained at the foot of a local peak of Mt. Kongo, this area has been known for the making of sudare. Even now only natural bamboo is used. The making process is roughly divided into three steps, that is, making the splints, binding, and fitting. All the process is done by hand in the traditional way, because each natural bamboo has different color and reed space, so only a human can distinguish the subtle differences, which is indispensable to make a product attractive. Osaka Kongo sudare is being love by people even now for its taste, aroma, and utility.
Ehime Prefecture is known as a place where high-grade bamboo grow. So the bamboo ware of Iyo bamboo craft takes on more atmosphere as you use it longer. Iyo Bamboo craft has a long history, and is said to have begun in the 7th century when Prince Shotoku visited Dogo Hot spring, and noticed the plentiful growth of bamboo in the area, and taught the local people how to weave baskets. The craft had been developed through the periods of the Nara, the Kamakura and the Muromachi, and in the Edo period (1603-1867) these handmade objects were highly esteemed as flower arrangements and tea ceremony utensils. The handmade processes of bamboo ware is all tedious and painstaking tasks, where Japanese delicate sensibility is made most of. A cut bamboo is bleached in water, then smudges on the surface are removed and oil content is removed with chemicals; next, it is given higowari (split into small strips) and bleached again or dyed; finally the strips are polished and woven by hand. Now many creative craftsmen are actively trying to develop new products in the field of interior or fashion design.