It has been a while since I took my last face-to-face lessons of acquiring various traditional Japanese manners at the venue of a traditional wooden house in Kyoto.
This time, we had a lesson of making an original incense bag and a hanging decoration with a unique braided cord knotting motif, named “Agemaki-musubi.”
First, selected two favorite cloths of mine from various Japanese patterns.
Prick, prick, needle crafting for the first time in a while!
Then, I learned a new way of knotting a braided cord, named “Agemaki musubi.”
“Agemaki musubi,” is one of the techniques of braided cord knotting, whose shape originated with the unique Japanese hairstyle of young boys in ancient times, which has been used as a talisman attached to the back of a warrior’s helmets to prevent bad luck in the battle field.
There are two ways of this knotting style. One is to knot the braided cord in the shape of Chinese character, “入（Iri）,” which literally means “Come in,” wishing for many good lucks and the good fortune that comes in. This type of knotting is used for a braided cord attached to the furniture at shrines and the tufts of bamboo screens.
In the other way of knotting, the braided cord is tied up in the shape of “人(Hito),” which literally means “Humanbeing,” , like the style of this Agemaki-musubi. This knotting style is used for the decoration of warrior’s helmets and armor to protect a warrior’s life in the battlefield. This time, we tried "人型（Hitogata)."
You will see various knotting forms in Japan, such as a sacred straw festoon on New Year’s Day, mizuhiki cord decoration (an ancient art of tying various knots of decorative cords), tying up fortune paper strips, a ritual ceremony to tie spirits, and knotting rope patterns on the pottery in the Jomon period.
Japanese have cherished this “Musubi, or Knotting Culture” for a long time in their history.
Since ancient times, people have expressed various aspects of nature by the act of knotting which ends up sealing the power of great nature, and moreover, they have increased their vital force by wearing it.
There are many flower patterns in the forms of knotting. This is because beautiful flowers in full bloom have been the symbol of the life which is shining brightly like the vital energy.
One is given life by a bond of love,
then the life has been inherited for generations thanks to our ancestors,
and that is why we exist now.
We can deepen the bounds by connecting our hearts,
Which leads to the development of bonds between countries,
and eventually, our world will be one by the strong bonds altogether.
I strongly feel that the “Knotting culture” seems to be carrying a vital role to connects our hearts instantly beyond the ages, countries, and dimensions, with the mystical power which will bring us harmony.
Finally, packed incense chips in a small handmade bag,
Then, it’s done!
The “Incense” is also a very important part of culture, in which the sense of smell has been “Bond”ed to our prayer and sensitivity.
I will talk about it next time.
Machiya, a traditional town house in Kyoto, has changed all interior furnishings to its summer style, including bamboo mats with wickerwork and bamboo screens composed of extra thin bamboo branches.
It looks so beautiful and cool!