Friday, 5 August 2011

Tanmono no tsutsumu - bolt wrapping

I am packing the fabrics for Festival of Quilts today. In the last couple of years, in addition to the kimono and haori silks, the yukata cottons and kimono wools, I've added vintage cotton tanmono (bolts) to my sales, as yardage. These are the cottons (occasionally silks and rayons) that were used for everyday things like futon covers, cotton kimono, kimono lining etc. Lovely for patchwork, especially some of the kimono linings where you are looking for a really good, deep blue, they are nevertheless beautifully wrapped, tied and labelled. It is almost a shame to cut the threads and open them out. Of course, I keep the labels... used some from my collection to illustrate the faux scrapbook pages in 'Japanese Quilt Inspirations'.

The Japanese 'art' of wrapping objects is called tsutsumu. The strings should be cut on taian, the lucky day in the Japanese almanack sequence rokuyo.

I just checked - yesterday was taian. Then every sixth day afterwards, so August 10th is next. That means today is shakko - bad luck all day. Lucky day, then five in between with various degrees of good luck/bad luck. Tomorrow is sensho. I should cut the threads in the morning!

1. Sensho - The morning is auspicious, but the afternoon will bring bad luck. Do things early. A good day for urgent business.

2.Tomobiki - Except for noontime, the day is auspicious. It is bad luck to hold funerals (said to be inviting another death) and Buddhist services on this day.

3.Sempu - The afternoon is auspicious. Urgent business and controversy should be avoided. Do everything with serenity.

4.Butsumetsu - This day is bad luck in all respects. (The day of Buddha's death - equivalent of Friday in Christian week calendar).

5. Taian - Good luck in everything -celebrations, weddings, shrine visits, starting new things etc.

6.Shakku - The opposite of Tomobiki, only noontime is auspicious; the rest of the day is bad luck.

I'm not suggesting that we are superstitious or that I believe in any of this stuff really (or wishing bad luck on anyone) by posting this. But it would be in keeping with tradition and a nice detail to remove the stitches on an auspicious day, or at the most auspicious time on a day that isn't 100% lucky! It also applies to the 'basting stitches' commonly found on second hand kimono, holding the edge of the sleeves in place.

If you want to check out your lucky days, there's an online calendar for you plus lots of information about the Japanese calendar and national holidays -the calendar is at the bottom of the page -


Anonymous said...

Fascinating Susan. Thanks for the info. What beautiful wrappings.Jill

Lis said...

What gorgeous packaging and thanks for that link and all the fascinating information on good/bad days. I won't be going to FoQ this year but it looks as if those that are will be in for a treat at your stand. Have fun.

Kathie said...

very interesting and beautiful wrappings...
thanks for sharing this info with us.
I love learning new things.