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


Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger-loop braiding. Later tools such as the marudai and the takadai were employed to make more complex braids in shorter time. The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar armour and their horses' armor (barding). Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijimes, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

A modern kumihimo disk made of firm but flexible foam plastic with notches can also be used as a portable marudai. The disks have 32 notches that create the tension that is usually created by tama on a marudai. The disks are convenient but are not as versatile as the marudai. On a marudai, any thickness or amount of string can be used, but on a disk only 32 or fewer strand braids can be made from thin cord. Also, marudai can make many types of braids, such as flat, four sided, and hollow. There are also rectangular foam cards, especially suitable for making flat braids.

The foam kumihimo disk is lightweight, portable, and significantly more affordable than the traditional marudai. Braiders can create complex braids up to 24 bobbins and incorporate beads. There are many sizes and shapes of foam disks available. Look for a disk that is sturdy and doesn't bend easily, otherwise the braider will experience uneven tension.

Related terms[edit]

  • Kagami – the top braiding surface on a marudai; Japanese for "mirror."
  • Kongō Gumi – a class of patterns for round cord all involving eight threads folded in half for a total of sixteen strands. In clockwise order, each bobbin is moved to the opposite side. When different combinations of thread color are used, many interesting patterns emerge, including diagonal stripes, diamonds on a background, triangles resembling hearts, and tiny six-petalled flowers.
  • Marudai or maru dai – the frame for the braiding; "maru dai" Japanese for "round stand."
  • Obi – the broad cloth sash used in traditional dress; a kumihimo belt, called the obijime, is tied around the obi.
  • Obijime – the cord used to bind the obi securely.
  • Takadai – a rectangular or square frame for creating flat kumihimo, as opposed to the round kumihimo made by the marudai.
  • Tama – bobbins. The thread is kept from unwinding by passing the thread under itself, forming a loop around the tama. True silk is a hollow fiber with a rough surface that resists slipping past the loop unless gently pulled. For synthetic fibers, a flexible plastic "clamshell" bobbin may be preferable.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumihimo — Please support Wikipedia.
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344 news items

Hereford Times
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:26:14 -0700

This short course is an introduction to the ancient Japanese craft of braiding. You will learn to make attractive and colourful braids that can be used for a variety of purposes. We will begin with the technique on the braiding disk and then make a ...


Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:35:11 -0700

With rope made by the Kyoto-based company Showen Kumihimo, the charm features a silver medallion with the nami uroko design on the back. The rope was inspired by odoshige, roped used to tie together pieces of armor by samurai leaders. It was meant ...

Fond du Lac Reporter

Fond du Lac Reporter
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 10:48:45 -0700

Kumihimo braiding for teens — 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 15. Discover the endless creative potential of this Japanese braiding technique to design unique bracelets, necklaces and lanyards. Adult Pinterest fingerprint portraits — 6 p.m. Thursday, July 16.
Asahi Shimbun
Fri, 22 Nov 2013 21:27:50 -0800

KYOTO--Quite when the traditional "kumihimo" braid shop Ito Kumihimo-ten (Ito Braid Works Co.) came into existence is not known, but it was apparently an already going concern in or around 1826. Kumihimo braids are flexible braids of silk that are used ...

City Pulse

City Pulse
Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:22:49 -0700

With Fourth of July weekend upon us, many people may be full of the festive spirit — and even more full of delicious barbecue. But as the fireworks fade away, the month of July can become quite boring, especially for the children. That´s why, the City ...

Le Télégramme

Le Télégramme
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 01:26:15 -0700

Jeudi, Kumihimo tressage japonais. Les participants créent des cordons ou bracelets en utilisant cette méthode qui permettait aux Japonais d'attacher leurs vêtements. Dès 5 ans ; durée : une heure. Vendredi, vannerie papier. En appliquant la vannerie ...

Het Belang van Limburg

Het Belang van Limburg
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 01:48:45 -0700

Alken - Kumihimo is een Japanse vlechtkunst van meer dan 1.000 jaar oud en bijzonder mooi om naar te kijken. Daarom organiseerde KVLV Alken centrum op donderdag 12 maart een crea-les juwelen maken in Kumihimo die plaatsvond in het ...


Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:52:30 -0800

“Primarily we sell yarn, but we have evolved to cover other fiber art forms such as kumihimo, which is an ancient Japanese braiding art,” Moore explains. “We have beautiful handmade batik fabrics from Bali, hand-done fabric art panels from Indonesia, ...

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