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Chusen dyed Tenugui

Tenugui (手拭い)

From a westerner's persepctive Tenugui can be viewed as distinctly Japanese. However, the versatility of Tenugui cloth cannot be confined by region or culture. 

Tenugui is a common item found in a typical Japanese household. Mostly made of cotton and using a plain weave, the Tenugui today are used as household decorations, traveling accessories, fashion statements, head bands during summer festivals or sporting activities, props and even belts! 

New printing and dyeing techniques were created due to the explosion of popularity and accessibility of Tenugui in Japan. The usefulness of a simple and straightforward piece of cloth was utilized in every way imaginable. The cloth is used as a way for businesses or companies to advertise local imagery and patterns. Creating Art on Tenugui became a highly fueled competition between artisans. That incredible drive of creativity still exists today for Tenugui makers, as can be seen here with our meticulously chosen selection of Chusen dyed Tenugui. 

Our friends Kiriko supplied us with some imagery of how you can use Tenugui in your every day life! Take a look at the pictures below.



Chu-sen dyeing technique

The patterns and colors of Tenugui are inconsistent and unique from piece to piece because each cloth is dyed by hand, making them much more unique and personal. The design permeates the fabric entirely, making the image or pattern seen bright and clear on both the front and back sides of the fabric equally. The cotton will acquire its distinctive soft texture with wash and wear.

Prior to the "Chu-sen" dyeing technqiue, images and patterns had to be done with silk screens, making the production costs very high. For very expensive Kimono, artisans hand-paint complex designs directly onto the fabric, As a way to make them less expensive while still preserving quality and detail, dye artisans came up with this idea of dyeing multi-colors at once without the high volume of silkscreens and getting rid of the time consuming hand-painting.

There are only few factories left in Japan who employs hand-dyeing method. Unlike machine printing, this method dyes the thread of the fabric, rather than just the surface.

We found an excellent video which shows just how these Chusen dyed Tengui are made! View the video below.

 Whether you choose to hang on your wall, in a door way, wear as an accessory or gift wrap, there is no wrong way to use a Tenugui!