Furoshiki is the ancient Japanese art of wrapping using a single piece of cloth. The practice began more than 1200 years ago in the Nara Period (710-784). During this time Emperors would use a wrapping cloth or bundlehandkerchief to keep their valuables safe and protected.Over time these traditional cloth wrappers would be used to carry the clothes of
noblemen to bathhouses. The beautiful silk cloth would be woven with the Lords family crest and spread across the bathhouse floor to claim that space. Furoshiki derived from the words furo which means bath and shiki which means to spread. As public bathhouses for ordinary people became more common in the Edo Period (1603- 1868), the noble practice of spreading out one’s furoshiki was forgotten. The furoshiki soon became a mainstream item for the working class. Vendors and peddlers used them to carry merchandise to the markets and would spread their wares on top of the furoshiki to display them. Women used them to carry laundry and food from the fields. Gifts and offerings would also be wrapped in a furoshiki.
This eco-friendly tradition met its demise in the 1970’s when the use of plastic bags became
popular. As awareness of environmental protection increases, the interest in the art of furoshiki is making a comeback.To promote this ancient ecofriendly tradition set up a
display and showcase a finished furoshiki wrapped present and include several scarves and copies of furoshiki tying techniques.