Lately I read an essay by the Japanese critic Kusamori Shin'ichi where he describes a scene of poetry reading in Kyoto University in the 1960's. What caught my attention is the description of the professor holding the poetry books carefully under one arm wrapped in Furoshiki - a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods.
Furoshiki is a square piece of cloth or fabric used for traditional wrapping. The word refers both to the craft and to the cloth itself, which usually has an elegant, decorative design print related to Japanese seasons and culture.
Furoshiki was first used in the Nara period (710–794) as a means to protect valuable goods. Since then it developed into an art and was used over the years to wrap many different things from objects, to clothes, or protect a glass bottle.
Furoshiki makes the art of gift-giving much more personal and special, offering the cloth as part of the gift.
What I love about Furoshiki is the fusion, that it is an art, a craft, a useful everyday object, its usefulness as a plastic substitute, and a piece of traditional Japanese history.
Text Source; Japan Objects, 105 Key words for understanding Japan.