In Kagawa prefecture, there is a culture loved by women and passed down with great care. It is "Sanuki Kagari Temari". It is a local toy of Kagawa.
The dainty floral and geometric patterns created by the colorful threads are as beautiful as a kaleidoscope. The simple warmth and gentle colors of the cotton threads are relaxing and comforting.
Although the temari is rarely seen in modern Japan, Ms. Eiko Araki, representative of the "Sanuki Kagari Temari Preservation Society," has been faithfully preserving the technique and materials while adding new charm to the art.
Ms. Eiko Araki
An Encounter with Temari Connected by Fate
The history of temari dates back 1,300 years. Temari, which came from China in the Nara period (710-794), became a plaything for aristocrats as kemari (a type of ball game), and in the Edo period (1603-1868), it was made with colorful silk threads and became a toy for princesses.
The popularity of temari spread to the general public, and in various regions, ingeniously designed temari became popular as playthings for children, but they disappeared with the advent of rubber balls.
Araki first encountered temari when she was in her early twenties, studying metal carving. It all started when she visited the Sanuki Custom Reference Museum, which is headed by a local researcher.
She was fascinated by the space that cherishes daily life crafts and folk art from all over Japan, and she began to visit the place again and again. One of the items that particularly attracted her was "Sanuki Kagari Temari".
That was the first time I saw temari. I still remember how wonderful it was to see how the colorful, gentle threads were laid out and knitted into a beautiful pattern.
Later, while working as an engraver, she began making temari.
Preserving and Passing on a Vanishingly Beautiful Culture
Araki looks back on the time when she started making temari.
The more I tried, the more I was fascinated by the depth of temari. It was fun to think about how I could make something more beautiful or more pleasing to people.
At the age of 40, she left the metal carving business and devoted herself to making temari in earnest. What she is careful about is not only to preserve the culture but also to share it with many people and spread it. She holds training courses for professional craftsmen and trains them to be expressive professionals who have mastered the basic techniques.
They place great importance on preserving traditional techniques and begin by faithfully reproducing the basic method for five years, and it takes more than ten years before they can enjoy expressing themselves freely.
Today, there are about 120 makers of Sanuki Kagari Temari. The craft, which once seemed to have died out, is now loved by local women and passed on with great care.
The world of temari is a deep one, but I think it is better to have a wide entrance. Not only do I want to preserve the tradition, but I also want young people to see the charm of temari as something fresh and attractive.
She also offers new ways to enjoy incense, such as by making small temari containing incense, called "Ko-Temari," which she hopes people will enjoy in their daily lives.
Traditional Temari born from the bounty of nature
"Sanuki Kagari Temari" has a tradition that we have carefully preserved.
The first is the use of cotton thread.
In the Edo period (1603-1867), when Kagawa Prefecture was called "Sanuki no Kuni," sugar, salt, and cotton were the three most famous white products of Sanuki Prefecture. The use of these cotton yarns gives Sanuki Kagari Temari its unique gentle texture.
Local cotton mills that manufacture the product have been closing down, and there have been times when suppliers have been in trouble. However, the preservation society has searched for manufacturing plants throughout the country and continues to protect the continued use of the precious cotton thread.
The second is to dye cotton threads with plants and trees.
Cotton threads are dyed with plants and trees. They dye with a variety of dyeing materials, such as Akane, Indigo, Kariyasu, Suo, chestnut, and onion, as well as Kariyasu dyed over indigo-dyed yarn.
"The dyed threads are hung out to dry on clotheslines in the garden. I love the time I spend looking at them while I make my handmari," says Araki.
Yarn being dried after dyed
Third, rice husks are used for the core.
The core of Sanuki Kagari Temari is made of rice husks wrapped in thin paper and wrapped with cotton thread. The process of forming the sphere using only the senses of the hands is highly difficult and requires a lot of patience. While many temari use styrofoam as a foundation, the artist's will to carry on the tradition is evident in the details that cannot be seen.
The fourth and final step is to make by hand.
Patterns are drawn using the traditional kagari technique. The thread is passed through the padded pouch, which is made to resemble the earth, dividing it into the North Pole, South Pole, and Equator, and then the pattern is madeaccording to the season and sensitivity.
Temari with guide lines for sewing
Patterns are sometimes created by reproducing or arranging traditional ones. Unlike embroidery, the this technique does not allow for much freedom, since the pattern is created by passing the thread from line to line. It is an interesting struggle to see how deep an expression can be achieved within the constraints of such freedom.
Sanuki Kagari Temari has been passed down from hand to hand with great care and tradition. The warmth and richness that can only be expressed by handcrafting dwells in the Temari. The tradition of colorful and beautiful Temari has become a new charm that lives on today.