What is Japanese Furoshiki Fabric Wrapping?

November 16, 2017

What is Furoshiki fabric wrapping?

Functional, versatile, environmentally friendly, and culturally interesting, furoshiki refers to a fabric wrapping technique that can quickly turn a simple square of cloth into a bag, a wrapping for a gift, or a home decor covering using folds, twists and simple knots. There is no need to sew the fabric, although some may prefer to hem the fabric's edges.


furoshiki fabric wrapping

The word furoshiki comes from furo “bath’ and shiku a form of the verb meaning “to spread”. The original name for these wrapping cloths would have been hirazutsumi, a flat folded bundle. They came to be called furoshiki in the Edo period in Japan (1603-1668) when the public bathhouses became social gathering places for the common people. A large square of cloth (or furoshiki), was spread on the floor to pile clothing and personal belongings on while the owner was in the bath, and then was used to wrap wet clothing and towels in to carry away after.

Furoshikis are associated with the Japanese culture most likely because the Japanese raised the simple bundle and tie techniques used by many cultures to carry goods to a new level by adapting them into beautiful gift wrapping techniques. There are hundreds of ways of wrapping a furoshiki, from elaborate shapes representing flowers and animals, to elegant twisted decorative elements.

The practice of wrapping with cloth declined with the increased use of plastic bags and disposable commercial wrapping papers, and many of the techniques for tying bags and gift wrappings are being lost, but concern for the environment is creating a resurgence of interest, and the art of furoshiki is back.

Tie a few and you will be hooked by how much fun they are to make, as well as by how well they work. My next blog (next week) will show you how.

And you will enjoy the comfortable feeling of reducing waste in the environment too!



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