Exotic Japanese Materials 3: Preserving the traditional, Tatami-beri (畳縁)
A typical Japanese room 和室 with Tatami and basic decoration (www.xuehua.us 2018)
Entering a traditional Japanese style room (和室, washitsu), one will perhaps be first hit by the prominent earthly, almost herbal scent from the tatami (畳) floor mat. The gaze is then directed at the lush green flooring that is uniformly woven using soft rush straw. Rarely is the tatamiberi (畳縁) afforded the attention.
Simple tatamiberi along the edge of the straw mat (tata3tori3.com)
What is tatamiberi?
It is the decorative fabric edge which runs along the edge of tatami mats. Designs can range from simpler, single-coloured ones to more elaborate, intricate colours and patterns. Apart from aesthetics purposes, tatamiberi is also treasured for its high functionality, serving to protect the tatami mats from abrasion and to fill in any gaps between the mats. Due to its versatility in both design and function, 47Ronin has opted to incorporate the textile as one of the core materials of the hand-crafted watch straps.
Traditional design tatami-beri used by 47Ronin Watch Straps
In the past, the complexity of the design was an indication of one’s social class and status within the Japanese society. Depending on your status and wealth, the appropriate design was decided, and it was forbidden to use tatamiberi which might be deemed too elegant for one’s social standing. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, so you can rest assured to choose any design of your liking.
Range of designs from simple to intricate, traditional to contemporary (The Tatami Room, 2018)
While more modern designs have emerged in the recent years, the tatamiberi can be categorized into four general types - ungen-beri (繧繝縁), kouraiberi (高麗縁), murasaki-beri (紫縁) and kin-beri (黄縁); all of which are charming in their own ways.
Four general types of tatamiberi
Though it was traditionally made using cotton or hemp yarn, the tatamiberi we commonly see today are typically woven using substituted materials like those made from artificial fibres, such as polyethylene and polypropylene. This not only yields a wider and richer variety of colours but also contributes to its durability and strength.
47Ronin#050 Navy blue goat leather watch strap with Match Green Tatamiberi from Japan (26mm, yellow stitches)
Needless to say, the beauty and durability of the tatamiberi which is incorporated into 47Ronin’s signature watch straps allows it to stand the test of time. But more than that, it is our innovative take on preserving the tradition and the craft. Rather than to simply use it for edging tatami mats, we believe that combining modern techniques and looks, all the while respecting the integrity of the textile, breathes new life into the traditional Japanese design of tatamiberi.
47Ronin#048 Black calf leather watch strap with Blue & Gold Tatamiberi from Japan (21mm, blue stitches)
47Ronin#046 Golden calf leather watch strap with Match Green & Gold Tatamiberi from Japan (22mm, orange stitches)
47Ronin#043 Brown calf leather watch strap with Chrysanthemum Tatamiberi from Japan (22mm, white stitches)
47Ronin#042 Brown calf leather watch strap with Green Tatamiberi from Japan (20mm, green stitches)
47Ronin#028 Leather watch strap with Tatamiberi fabric (18mm, white stitches)
47Ronin#026 Leather watch strap with Tatamiberi fabric (20mm, pink stitches)
47Ronin#035 Brown calf leather watch strap with Navy blue & gold Tatamiberi from Japan (20mm, blue stitches),
Less is more: subtle peeks of tatamiberi fabric
47Ronin#019 Leather watch strap with Tatami edge fabric (24mm, light brown leather, with Green & gold Tatami edge fabric, Black stitches), Fusion between modern gadgets and traditional Japanese textile
47Ronin#044 Golden calf leather watch strap with Blue & Gold Tatamiberi from Japan (20mm, purple stitches)
47Ronin#045 Golden calf leather watch strap with Match Green Tatamiberi from Japan (18mm, yellow stitches)
Each watch strap tells a narrative. What will your connection to Japanese tradition be?
For custom designed and handcrafted watch straps please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Text by Xiu Ting