Traditional patterns of tenugui (Hand Towels)No.2 Nakamura goushi

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“Nakamura goushi”

In modern Japan, we often play on words. For instance, June 4th read in Japanese can be played on words as such; “June” can be read as “mu” in Japanese and “four” can also be read as “shi”, which will together read “mushi”. And when adding “ba” after “mushi”, it reads “mushiba” meaning cavity. Hence, June 4th in Japan is the day for preventing cavities. “Nakamura goushi” is also a type of traditional pattern including such play on words with the letter “six” or “mu” in Japanese. The number “six” is included in the Japanese name “Nakamura”, between “Naka” and “ra”, which is “mu”.

During the Edo period, the public were forbidden to enjoy luxurious things and thus, very simple stripe and grid patterns were widely circulated and consumed. Kabuki actors who were also fashion leaders of that period would also use these simple patterns but added their names and house names for originality. This traditional pattern was used for the house of Nakamura family. This particular pattern of “Nakamura goushi” illustrates the house name of “Nakamura” using this simple grid style design. It includes five thin lines and one thick line, which totals six numbers of lines which would read “mu” in Japanese meaning “six” in English. Furthermore, it also includes two other parts of the name “Naka” written as “中” using the Chinese letter and “ra” written as “ら” using the Japanese letter. Combining the three parts together would present the house name “Naka mu ra”, together with “koushi” signifying the grid style pattern.

 

5.中村格子

現代の日本でも、よく使われる「語呂合わせ」。
たとえば、6月4日は「む(6)、し(4)」で虫歯(むしば)予防デーですが、これもそんな語呂合わせが潜んだ文様です。「中」「ら」の文字に、「む」を表す6本の線で「中村」となります。

江戸時代、贅沢を禁止するお達しが出たことから、シンプルな縞や格子の文様が多く出回るようになりました。ファッションリーダーでもあった歌舞伎役者は、それにひと工夫を加えて屋号や自分の名前を表しました。

これは、中村屋の屋号を象徴する「中村格子」です。5本の細い線と1本の太い線の合計6本の線で「む」を表現、「中」と「ら」の文字と組合せています「む」は、細い線3本ずつを交差させるものもあります。


2014-01-27 | Posted in TENUGUIComments Closed 

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