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Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese method of wrapping gifts and carrying objects with square cloth fabrics. It originated more than 1200 years ago when the cloths were used to protect precious temple objects and were called at that time, tsutsumi – “wrapping”. The cloths then became known as hiratsutsumi – “flat wrap” when people used the cloth for bundling clothes. Furoshiki actually means “bath spread” or “bath mat” which emerged during the period when the Japanese bath culture took off in Japan and people would use their cloths to bundle their clothing while in the bath so people wouldn’t confuse their clothing. They would then use the cloth to wipe their feet when exiting the bath.
Modern day furoshiki are primarily used as an eco-friendly way to wrap any kind of gift, from books, to clothing to bottles and boxes in beautiful colors and patterns. They are also used to make handbags, to wrap bento boxes and almost any kind of object that can be carried.
Furoshiki is part of the traditional Japanese way of life and a beautiful expression of the Japanese minimalism aesthetic.