Furoshiki (風呂敷) is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth made from silk, chirimen, cotton, rayon or nylon decorated in traditional designs. They come in different sizes, traditionally 45cm and 68-72 cm but can be as small as a tissue or as large as a bed sheet depending on use. The direct translation of the word means “Bath Spread” which comes from the Edo period when large cloths were used to bundle clothes together whilst taking a bath at a public bath house.
The furoshiki was adapted by merchants as a means to transport their wares or to protect or decorate a gift. Today, they are commonly used in gift wrapping and to wrap Bento (lunch boxes) for children to carry to and from school. Due to environmental concerns and the proliferation of the plastic bag, the Furoshiki is making a come back.
The Art Gallery of NSW is running a furoshiki wrapping workshop on November 13 and 27 2011.
For more information see The Art Gallery of NSW website