The shape of Tenugui is rectangular(about 34cm wide and 90cm long).It is a traditional Japanese hand towel, made of cotton and dyed patterns.It is very familiar to Japanese people.
You can find a variety of colors and designs of Tenugui in Japanese shops.
Japanese have many styles of pattern, modern,artistic,funny,etc.. at times new types of designs, I’ve never seen before, make me surprised, and I think ”Wow! This pattern can be on Tenugui!”.
There have been increasing chances to receive or give them as a gift.
The reason is not only those beautiful and unique designs but also the price.
They are relatively inexpensive and range from 100 yen to 1,000~2,000 yen.
The history of Tenugui,dates back to the Heian period(AD794 -1192).
Tenugui was used as an accessory for religious shinto rituals.The cloth was a precious item in this era, but the cotton began to be cultivated in
the Edo period(1603-1868), and was gradually distributed among common people.In the Edo period, competitions for new dyeing techniques for artistic quality was held. What a classy competition!
The biggest reason that Tenugui became a necessary item for living was its practical function.The very basic way to use this, is for wiping your face and hands, such as, you would do with a handkerchief. It can be used for anything a towel can be used for -a washcloth, a dishcloth. And you can wrap items or a gift or cover your bag if you don’t have a zipper.And wearing it around your head as a headband or Hachimaki(*) keeps away dust or sweat.
Using it instead of a napkin and a place mat on a table is a nice idea.
Moreover, you can enjoy seasonable designs for display like a painting or textile.It can be used in many ways.You must to have many Tenugui for many purpose!
Washing notice: When you wash it at first, don’t use detergent or hot water,
because Tenugui loses its colors. Wash it by hand with plenty of water .
The more washed it is, the softer its special texture becomes.
One more notice, don’t keep it unused for long. If Tenugui is left unused for long,some dyes remaining on the cloth can cause damage to Tenugui and ruin it.So, before putting it away, wash it once.I promise you can be aware of Tenugui’s charm by using and washing it more and more rather than putting it in a closet!
(*Hachimaki)When Japanese people encourage ourselves we tie “Hachimaki”= headband, to do our best on such occasions as festival or athletic meet.It also