Kumihimo – Ryuko-gumi and related braids

Japanese Textiles

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In her second book on takadai braids, Makiko Tada details four different flat braids of the ryuko (dragon/tiger) design, all done with 50 bobbins on the takadai braiding stand. I worked my first one about seven years ago, but am doing them now as ‘miniatures’ with just 4 and 6 strands (20/2 weaving yarn) per bobbin, producing a much narrow braid than I’ve done in the past.

I got the idea of “miniature” braids from ‘apprentice’ braids on public display in the museum section of the Adachi braiding workshop in Kyoto. In addition, I got specimens of sageo from eBay and saw examples in my local art gallery, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, with their fine Japanese swords on display, with sageo attached. I’ve seen similar at the Osaka City Museum and I’ve got my own insignificant Korean repro sword, with a double-layer takadai sageo braid (a…

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