About Temari

Japanese Temari

Temari is an ancient Japanese folk art form. 手まり (old writing 手毬・手鞠)  - “te” means hand, and “mari” means ball-shaped. Centuries ago people in Japan started playing with temari balls made of rice hulls, worn-out fabric and left-over threads. 

In the early Edo Period noble women, skilled in needlework, stitched their temari with beautiful silk threads, and developed more elaborate geometric patterns. Gradually, temari evolved into objects of art and highly valued gifts.

Kaga Yubinuki

加賀ゆびぬき  - Kaga Yubinuki, or Japanese thimble, is a traditional craft from Kaga, Ishikawa prefecture in Japan. During Edo period kimono seamstresses started making this thimbles with leftover silk threads. During the New Year holidays, the seamstresses would make such thimbles for themselves in order to practice their sewing skills and try new patterns.  

The base of the thimble is paper, layered several times, then padded with raw silk or layers of thin thread, and embroidered in an interlocking geometric pattern, using stitching technique similar to Japanese Temari.  Recently, Kaga Yubinuki became popular as unique pieces of jewelry and accessories. 

Traditional Patterns

麻の葉 [Asa-no-ha]
Hemp Leaf Pattern

A traditional geometric pattern based on a regular hexagon, a shape that is similar to a hemp leaf. Hemp plant has strong vitality and can grow without the need for a lot of care. Asa-no-ha pattern is used on a wide variety of objects, symbolizing protection from harm and evil spirits, strength and healthy growth.

菊 [Kiku]
Chrysanthemum Pattern

Chrysanthemum flower is a symbol of Japan. The Japanese monarchy is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne and the imperial crest is a stylized blossom. You can come across the Kiku pattern in many traditional Japanese crafts, kimono, rice paper, pottery, temari, and even Japanese passports.

桜 [Sakura]
Cherry Blossoms Pattern

Sakura is Japan's National flower. References to sakura in poetry, music and art can be found as early as the beginning of the Heian era (794 - 1185). Sakura is said to represent the spirit of beauty, symbol of renewal and hope, and the cycle of life. The pink clouds of cherry blossoms quickly fall away, and this transience, is part of their appeal.