Updated: August 29, 2016
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Used to be a toy, these beautiful pieces of arts now can become a wonderful gift too.
Have you ever seen the traditionally crafted Japanese cloth balls called temari?
Originally made from old kimono scraps formed into balls and sewn to entertain their children, mothers have been making temari in Japan since the 600s! Over time, mothers from aristocratic families have developed temari into an art form in its own right, incorporating beautiful embroidery techniques and intricate patterns into their work, creating balls that were as much a pleasure to look as as to play with. Although made of silk cloth (and sometimes centered with rubber and containing noisemaking elements, like rice or tiny bells), some temari are so tightly wound, they are very robust, and can even bounce! There are many fun traditional games you can play with them.
Traditionally, temari are brightly colored New Year's presents for children, and a mother may write a secret wish for her child on a small piece of paper before binding it tightly into the center of the ball. But even today, with dedicated temari craftsmen creating beautiful works of art, a gift to a friend or other relative of a temari is a sign of deep affection and sincere good wishes, whose bright colors represent the happiness and good health you wish for the recipient.
So if you are traveling in Japan, and wondering what to bring back to your friends and family, why not give them a beautiful temari?
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