Tenugui are one of the most typical Japanese traditional crafts with utilitarian and aesthetic purpose together. These thin woven cotton hand towels are dyed with wonderful designs and colors. They are beautiful as well as durable for everyday use.
"Te" means hands and "nugui" means wiping. Tenugui have been loved by Japanese people for over 1,000 years for wiping hands and face.
A tenugui's dimensions are typically 34 cm X 90 cm (13" X 35 7/16"). (Please be advised that tenugui are very thin, not so thick as western style towels.)
Tenugui can also be utilized for:
- Kendo Men head covering
- Fashion item (such as bandanna)
- Dish towel
- Table placemats
- Home decor
In Japan where the climate is humid, people prefer a thin tenugui that dries quickly to keep it sanitary. Although a tenugui is very thin, it absorbs lots of water. To let a tenugui dry quickly and also to lower the price, either end of tenugui is not hemmed. However, interestingly, fraying at the edges will stop after several washes.
The retail prices of tenugui in Japan are often from 800 to 2,000 Japanese Yen (approx. US$8 - US$20). However, elderly people think that tenugui are something that are given for free, because in the past, tenugui were distributed to neighborhoods by shops for advertisements.
People enjoy different design tenugui from season to season. Tenugui come in wide variety of designs. Designs are flowers, trees, birds, animals, insects, folktales, Ukiyo-e, traditional or contemporary motifs. Hundreds of designs are created each year and also are lasting for years. Tenugui are consumed by many people.
Nipponcraft.com mainly deals tenugui dyed with the traditional "Chu-sen" method. "Chu-sen" is an unique method whereby the dyes are poured over the surface of multiple cloths from a pitcher, and at the same time a vacuum pump set beneath sucks the dyes quickly. Chu-sen is quite different from a silkscreen printing. Chu-sen method was first invented by craftsmen in Osaka in the late 19th century. Chu-sen method enabled makers to produce inexpensive textile products for mass consumption.
Chu-sen tenugui does not have right and wrong sides to the design image. Both sides are beautifully dyed (double-sided). If you have a look at an automated silk screen or textile-ink printed tenugui, you can tell the clear difference of beauty. Chu-sen tenugui have more traditional feeling than 'printed' ones.
Only natural and non-toxic materials are used throughout the entire production process of Chu-sen method.
It is prevalent in Japan that shops, hotels, schools and many other organizations make their own logo tenugui for gifts and advertisements.
We will accept your custom order tenugui. We dye your design on tenugui with the Chu-sen method. For your custom order inquiry, please visit here.
Please enjoy tenugui! They are natural and non-toxic!
Please also see our tenugui demonstration in our pamphlet here.