All Things Japanese – Mizuhiki

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My mother, being the serious crafter she is, asked me if I could send her some Japanese decorations she could use to make cards with. I knew what she wanted was mizuhiki, an art form in Japan involving strands of stiff cord that are shaped into beautiful designs. It so happened that we had a bag of mizuhiki stored in our house from many years ago (don’t ask me how this happens) so I got the bag out to send some to my mother. Of course, the mizuhiki turned out to be so beautiful I had to photograph them before I sent them.

Mizuhiki are used in Japan to adorn cards, basically the way we use ribbons or bows in America. I have a couple of examples of cards made with mizuhiki here.

Mizuhiki can also be wire sculptures given as gifts for special occasions. They are usually sculpted into the forms of animals or other objects that can be displayed in people’s homes. Originally, mizuhiki was used to tie up the hair of samurai. Undoubtably, the ties became more and more ornamental. Today, modern jewelers are taking a riff from mizuhiki and creating mizuhiki inspired jewelry. Just another case of how modern Japanese preserve a centuries old art form for future generations to appreciate.