The art of furoshiki is two fold… (or multi, depending on your knotting preferences). A centuries-old art of cloth wrapping, today furoshiki offers both a contemporary alternative to single-use wrapping, and a way to add that extra special touch to any gift.
Where it All Began
Originating in Japan, furoshiki dates back to the Nara period (710-794 CE). During this time, the cloth used to wrap an article was referred to as ‘tsutsumi’ (a term meaning ‘present’ or ‘package’). Tsutsumis, now commonly known as furoshiki, were used to bundle, protect and transport belongings. Food, gifts or other items were placed in the cloth, tied and neatly knotted. Today the technique has evolved into a popular practice around the world, offering a creative and contemporary way to bundle items, wrap groceries or even enhance a table setting.
From Bath Spread to Reusable Wrapping
The name ‘furoshiki’ was thought to have originated in the Muromachi period (1136 to 1573), and is a combination of the words ‘furo’ (bath) and ‘shiki’ (spread). Public bath houses were popular during the period, and in order to prevent their clothing or belongings from getting wet, or being confused with other bathhouse visitors, bathers would wrap their items in a furoshiki cloth. Family crests and monograms were often printed on the cloths to distinguish them from other bathgoers, making them easily recognisable when emerging from the steamy water.
A Sustainable Gift Wrapping Alternative
Instead of using disposable, single-use wrapping paper, opt for a cloth that can be used, repurposed and loved year upon year.
A Gift in itself
With furoshiki, the wrapping becomes part of the gift. Something beautiful and functional; keepsake rather than throwaway. Wrap up your gift in a Mungo kitchen cloth, hand towel or cotton kikoi and you’ll instantly add that extra special touch.
The art of furoshiki is surprisingly simple. Opt for a square or rectangular piece of cloth, place your item in the centre, and knot the ends. Tuck in any extra flaps to neaten, or slip in a gift card or flower for a finishing touch. No paper, tape or clumsy wrapping required!