The Early History
In the Azuka period, in 607 AD, a Japanese delegate to China (Zui)
brought back a gift to the Japanese emperor.
The gift box had on its lid a red and white decoration, made of twine.
The decoration symbolized a “safe journey’ for the delegate.
single gift box and its decoration began a tradition in Japan. Whenever
a gift was offered to the Japanese Imperial court, a red and
white loose knot-like decoration, using the bonded and dried washi
material, was crafted onto the gift box.
In The Heian period, this decoration
became known as Mizuhiki.
The Later History
In the Edo period in Japan (1611-1869) the head of the Samurai,
in The Iida district, now in Nagano prefecture, ordered his Samurai warriors
to learn the craft of Mizuhiki. It is thought that this may have been
the origin of Mizuhiki in the Iida area.
Samurai warriors wore what
are known as Motoyui, “top knots”,
and other Japanese people in their hair. Similarly umbrellas and parasols
were made using Mizuhiki, because it was both strong and waterproof.
Many Japanese people wore Motoyui until the end of the Edo period.
The Meiji period (1869-1914), which followed the Edo period, is the
period known by some as “the start of modern Japan”.
The Modern History
The end of the Edo period meant the demise of the Samurai and with
it the demand for the Motoyui. Many Japanese people adopted lifestyles
which were more western, including wearing their hair shorter.
The craftsmen of Iida, however, using the knowledge they had acquired
over centuries, decided to diversify. They made even stronger and durable
Mizuhiki. Subsequently, in the Showa period (1926-1989), different
ways of “weaving” Mizuihki were developed.
Mizuhiki art is often seen at Wedding ceremony, for instance, Kimono,
wedding dress, and bride's hair clip, table wares, ornaments of the
site. It lights up the ceremony.
This tradition of Mizuhiki has continued until the present day and.
Seventy eight per cent of all Mizuhiki made in Japan, comes from Iida.
Iida Mizuhiki is
recognized by the Japanese Government as the number one Mizuhiki in Japan.
Mizuhiki ,and 1998 Nagano Olympics & Paralympics
Mizuhiki Art Gallery