Tenugui towel (手拭)

Tenugui towel (called Tenogoi in Edo-ben and Hakata-ben dialects) is a plain-woven cotton fabric used to dry your hands, wash your face, or wash yourself during bath time. You may also put a Tenugui towel on your head to protect it from the sun or to wipe away sweat. Various types of Tenugui towel are available. Its size is about 90 centimeter by 35 centimeter, and most of them are white with an indigo (plant) dyeing pattern. Originally, a Tenugui towel means a traditional Japanese towel but sometimes it includes a towel which comes from Western Europe. To distinguish it more clearly, it's sometimes called Nihontenugui (Japanese tenuous towel). The origin is not known but the word 'Tekin' started to be used in ancient times, and then the word 'Tenugui' around Edo period.

Gradually, Tenugui towels became popular among ordinary people.

Although most present Japanese use towels and handkerchiefs in their life it does not mean that Tenugui towels have died out. Open and flat-woven Tenugui are longer than towels and have several advantages that towel cloth products do not have. Tenugui is used as a head covering, hachimaki (headband), blindfold, or for wiping away sweat in farm work, traditional performing arts, festivals, or the Japanese art of fencing, or dish towel. Tenugui is still in high demand as a gift item from shops or as a memento of an event. In recent years, Tenugui have been reevaluated, and you can find Tenuguis with various patterns in komono accessories shops or handicraft shops.

Tenugui is not sewn at the bottom so that it dries well and quickly in order to keep itself clean.

[Original Japanese]