Kebesu Festival Hand Dyed Tenugui by Yotsume
These festival print tenugui clothes were made by Toyokazu Ono at his Yotsume dye studio.
The region of Kunisaki in Oita, is a land of mountains and valleys, and many devotional traditions. In history it has been known for a particular mix of buddhism and shintoism, and for the incursion of christianity during certain periods. In 2018 it commemorated 1300 years as an area known for spiritual and religious sites. But it is a history often told in oral traditions, and in some cases lost. One mysterious remnant is the Kebesu festival held at the Iwakura shrine each October. Quite where the masks, events, and the word ‘kebesu’ itself originated from, no one is quite sure.
These tenugui are from Ono’s series on scenes from Kunisaki, and were hand dyed using the katazome (stencil) method at his studio.
Each tenugui is 90cm by 35cm, and can be hung from the ceiling, or stretched across a table. It can also be used as a sustainable wrap, or as a light towel.
Tenugui are made to be used, and in Japan the colour fade after washes is taken as part of the life of the item. However, it is still wise to expect a colour run from the hand dyed product, and best to wash separately at least for the first few occasions.
Yotsume Somenuno-sha is the dye studio of Toyokazu Ono. Based in Kunisaki on the north-eastern tip of Kyushu island, Ono practices katazome, or Japanese stencil dye. From a family who have made dye works for temples and Japanese businesses for more than a century, Ono takes his influences from the mid-century revival in katazome led by Keisuke Serizawa, and modern stencil based graffiti. The results are handmade dye works rich in colour and pattern, that offer both a contemporary riff on a traditional craft, and tap into a rich aesthetic seam.