Japan Foundation celebrates the cultural significance of ‘tenugui’ textile art

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Following the success of the Furoshiki design competition held in February this year, the Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) is now accepting applications for the Tenugui design competition.

Tenugui is a traditional Japanese cotton towel that is a staple in Japanese homes.

The long sides are finished with a selvage, which prevents it from fraying or fraying.

The short sides are simply cut away, with the “unfinished” edge being an important part of the aesthetic. Loose threads are part of a tenugui’s appeal, and it’s a mark of their authenticity. It is available in a standard size of 35cm x 90cm.

“This rectangular towel is used as an everyday object such as a washcloth or a tea towel, but also as a decoration, gift or souvenir, or as a scarf or a headband.

“It is a versatile item that is of infinite utility. It has a long history in Japan and it became popular among people when cotton was cultivated during the Edo period (1603-1868). In the 1990s , a few companies offered contemporary products of models based on traditional elements, which led to the renaissance of tenugui which continues to this day, ”explains Amira Sabri, program and administration manager of JFKL.

The theme of the Tenugui Design Competition is “Malaysia + Japan” and participants are encouraged to creatively incorporate various Malaysian and Japanese cultural elements.

The top three winners will win cash prizes of RM 1,500, RM 1,000 and RM 500 respectively.

The competition is open to Malaysians aged 18 and over. The closing date for registrations is October 31st. The design template is provided on the JFKL website here.

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