Friday, April 24, 2015

It's a crafty world:Temari - The Japanese folk art

By Marlen Parari 

Temari was introduced to Japan through China around the 7th century A.D. Temari  (手まり) is the word for 'handball' in Japanese and the craft involves the making of a colorful, embroidered, thread ball. The craft emerged from the desire to entertain and amuse children and nowadays Temari as given as gifts. Temari are highly valued and cherished gifts, symbolizing deep friendship and loyalty.

Historically, Temari were constructed from the remnants of old kimonos where the silk fabric would be wadded up to a form of ball and then wrapped with strips of fabric. As time passed, the functional stitching became more decorative and detailed as it evolved into a form of intricate art.

Traditionally, temari were often given to children from their parents on New Year's Day. Inside the tightly wrapped layers of each ball, the mother would place a small piece of paper with a goodwill wish for her child. The child would never be told what wish his or her mother had made while making the ball.

Alternately, some balls contained "noisemakers" consisting of rice grains or bells to add to the play value. It is said that traditional temari were wrapped so tightly they would bounce.

Learn how to make a simple Temari ball by following the instructions here.

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