A Length of Five Uncut Tenugui: Chusen Dyeing Process
ca. mid twentieth century
172" x 12", 436 cm x 30 cm
What a wonderful thing.
This is a length of five tenugui, a kind of traditional souvenir towel, that has not yet been cut into individual pieces. The reason that five exist in mirror image to one another is due to the process used to make tenugui.
The chusen process uses stencils and dyes. The soft, gauzy cotton is folded into a stack and the stencils and dye are placed on the top of the stack. A kind of rudimentary suction machine is used to pull dye down through the stack of cloth to imprint several tenugui at one time, hence the five towels repeated in mirror image.
These tenugui shown here are traditional; the cotton is very, very slightly and minimally discolored in select areas, but otherwise it is bright and clear over all.
A real find.