Arimatsu Shibori Tenugui Towel – KAMAWANU - Japanese Tenugui Towel


Arimatsu Shibori Tenugui Towel

 In Japan, there are traditional dyeing techniques such as Chusen (hand-dyeing), Indigo dyeing, and
Yuzen dyeing. The tenugui towels we would like to introduce to you are dyed using a technique called "Arimatsu-shibori".

"Arimatsu" is the name of a place in Aichi Prefecture, located in the central region of Japan.Arimatsu is a town born along the Tokaido Road about 415 years ago.Narumi no Yado (Arimatsu) is also depicted in the famous ukiyoe "Tokaido Gojusantsugi" in which Hiroshige Utagawa depicted 53 stations on the Tokaido Road.

One of the unique characteristics of Arimatsu is that for more than 400 years, the entire town has been made up entirely of tie-dye merchants. It is a very attractive town where the scenery depicted in ukiyoe woodblock prints remains to this day.

As can be seen in the ukiyoe "Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Highway" showing the Narumi-no-yado, it was a popular souvenir on the Tokaido Road and prospered. Today, the Arimatsu shibori is familiar to Japanese people as yukata (summer kimonos) and tenugui towels, the manufacturing process is a series of very detailed operations.

Next, using "Arimatsu Mame-shibori" as an example, we will show how elaborate the Arimatsu shibori hand towel is.

  "Mame-shibori" is so widely known as a dot pattern that it is often referred to as tenugui towel. Mame-shibori is a type of itajime-shibori, a very labor-intensive pr

Originally, mame-shibori was called "bean-dyeing" because the dye was applied after the beans were put in and bundled. Miura Shibori (dot)[※] , the originator of Mame-shibori, was introduced from Oita Prefecture in Kyushu in the early Edo period, and today it is a very valuable dyeing method that can only be dyed by a dyer called "Harisho.

[※] Miura-shibori is a tie-dyeing technique. It began when the wife of Genchu Miura, a doctor of the Bungo province, introduced the Beppu shibori technique to the Narumi region.

How to Make ARIMATSU MAME SHIBORI Tenugui Towel (detail)

 1. Soak 1 roll (10 m) of hand towel fabric in water,
dry it until a little dampness remains, fold it in half, and make a 5m length.

2. On a wooden folding table, a thin brass metal plate (approx. 3 x 45 cm) is clipped alternately to the top and bottom, and the fabric is folded into a pleated shape.

3. After folding one roll, the metal plate is pulled out so as not to destroy the stripes. After that, the stripes are lightly tapped with a square timber to straighten them out. (The length of one warp is about 45 cm, and about 140 metal plates are used.)

4. Turn the fabric over and cover the top with a wooden box to prevent the pleats from collapsing. Keep a stock of several rolls in this state.

5. The fabric is placed on a dyeing board with uniformly carved vertical grooves so that the stripes are vertical and removed from the box.

6. The fabric is pressed against the front plank, and a rubber board is placed between the plank and the fabric to prevent contamination. To dye three or four sets at once, this process is repeated, and the boards and fabrics are stacked.

7. The stacked boards are fixed in three places with metal fittings and tightened with bolts. In order to obtain a beautiful bean pattern when dyeing, the pleated fabric is pressed down through the gaps between the boards [Sato 3] and the pressing wood is tied with string to prevent it from loosening.

8. The two men set it in a vise for further tightening.

9. Tightening the vice and tightening the loose bolts, fine adjustments are made so that a uniform force is applied to the entire board.

10. The board that has been evenly tightened is removed from the vise, and the dough, still sandwiched between the boards, is placed in the dye at this point.

11. After a few minutes, when pulled up from the dye, the bolts are quickly loosened and the board is removed.

12. The dyed fabric is then transferred to a stand while still pleated and folded. After the fabric is left in this state for a day and night, the dye oxidizes completely and turns a bright blue color, after which it is rinsed in water and dried.

Through these processes, tenugui towels with the unique patterns and textures of Arimatsu shibori are created.

There are many other types of shibori techniques, which can be roughly classified into 8 categories, including the method of binding with thread only, sewing and squeezing, and squeezing using a special stand.

Because each type of tie-dyeing requires precise and advanced techniques, it is impossible for a single person to handle several tie-dyeing processes. Each type of drawing requires specialized processing techniques, and each craftsman takes pride in his skills. Each type of shibori requires a specialized processing technique, and each craftsman is proud of his or her own art. When several types of tie-dyeing techniques are combined in one design, each technique is ordered to a different tie-dyeing craftsman. Although the number of tie-dyeing techniques, which numbered more than 100 in the early Showa period, is decreasing year by year, many craftsmen are still active in pursuing a single technique.

The fact that each piece is finished differently, even with the same design, is proof of "handmade by craftsmen". We would be happy if you could enjoy the individuality of each product as its own characteristic.