Friday, October 27, 2017

Tenugui - Hand Towel - Sumo Red (T59)

Sumo Wrestlers Tenugui Japanese Hand Towel

Tenugui - Hand Towel - Sumo Red (T59)

This hand towel is called a "tenugui". A Tenugui (手拭い) is a thin Japanese hand towel made of cotton. It is typically  plain woven and is almost always dyed with some pattern. It can be used for anything a towel could be used for - as a washcloth, dishcloth, but often as a headband, souvenir or decoration. Towels made from terry cloth have replaced many of its use in the household. However tenugui are still popular as souvenirs, decorations, and as a head covering in kendo, where it functions as a sweatband, as extra padding beneath the headgear (men), and to identify the participants by team color.

It is 35 cm x 87 cm (approx 347 x 13 inches) and is 100% cotton.
Sumo is an ancient form of wrestling dating back at least 2000 years. It incorporates many Shinto (the national religion) rituals and ceremonies. For example the wrestlers periodically throw salt across and out from the ring. This is an act of purification, salt long being used for that purpose at Shinto shrines. Sumo was performed for “Kami” (Gods) at “matsuri” (festivals). The place where they perform sumo is still considered sacred like a Shinto shrine.

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