Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kumihimo Origin - Where did it come from?

Samarai Armor
Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi himo is Japanese for "gathered threads". 

Japanese Haori
Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger-loop braiding known as Kute Uchi style in the 7th Century and was used for making the cords that tied together Samurai Armor and their horses armor.

Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori, which is a hip length jacket, and obijime, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

Kumihimo was originally weaved using just the hands, but later,
Japanese Obi Sash Tie
looms or marudai were developed for ease of use and to make the cords faster.  The

Japanese style marudai is 16" high and is usually used while kneeling or when placed on a table. Unlike kumihimo disks,
Kumihimo Marudai
marudais have no indication of where the thread should be placed; it is done freehand. To create the tension required for the rope to form, wooden bobbins called tama are rolled on the strands of threads, and a bag of counterweights is placed at the base knot of these threads, where the rope begins. The tama are often filled with lead or other heavy metals.

Kumihimo Necklace

Kumihimo has seen a new re-birth with the recent addition to beads, transforming the mostly functional art to a more decorative role in Jewelry.

To see more examples of kumihimo jewelry, visit Handmade Jewelry Haven's Etsy page here.

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  1. Lisa, do you make your own kumihimo braids for your seaglass jewelry? Your featured necklace is lovely. I like how you tied the history with your unique hand-crafted pieces. :)

    1. Hi Cathy! Yes, I 'discovered' Kumihimo shortly after Thanksgiving as my aunt was wearing a beautiful Kumihimo necklace. You can read about it on an older post here:
      I am having a blast with my new found 'hobby' :)
      Thanks for visiting!

      - Lisa

  2. What a fascinating technique! I love how it's being used in jewelry these days.

    1. I do too. Every day I see more and more intricate patterns that I plan to create one day!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      - Lisa