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Kyo Kumihimo (braided code)


Braided code, in Japan, has been utilized for a variety of things including religious institutions, dresses, and armors and swords since more than 1000 years ago.

The fabrication also varies in about 3500 types, which means there are more than 3500 designs, because each purpose requires its own specific way.

The beginning of Kyo Kumihimo was in Heian period (794-1192), the era of aristocracy, and in Kamakura era (1192-1333), the one for samurais, the art became more frequently used for armors.

The practical style of fabrication was developed at that era. Later in Edo period (1603-1867), the time for citizens, Kyo Kumihimo was adopted to codes for fixing haori kimonos, and mass production began.

Production of Kyo Kumihimo is divided in 3 types. a) braided by hand only, b) braided by hand using a small stool-like wooden tool, called Kumidai, c) braided by machine for mass production.

The most sophisticated, beautiful ones, at least as objects of craftworks, are made by using Kumidai.

Kumihimo has been loved and used throughout Japanese history for their easiness of tightening, uneasiness of loosening, flexibility, and practicality.

Kumihimo had been used for armors to bind the plates, for swords to roll up the hilts and bind swords to samurais, adding gracefulness to such war related things.

In Muromachi era (1333-1573), the art was utilized to hanging scrolls, small boxes, and tea utensils, and the artisans learned the style of simplicity and calmness from tea culture.

Now, Kyo Kumihimo is mainly used for Kimono and Kimono items, as exciting fashion goods.

Kyo Kumihimo was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1976.

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