what is kumiko
Showing Asanoha patterns
used to represent
Grandparents and Parents.

The Art Form

Kumiko is the making of patterns using thin pieces of wood. These pieces of wood, also known as Kumiko, are 4mm thick x 12mm wide.

In addition, in Japanese Kumiko shops, all cutting is done by hand. All the strips, notches and angles are all done by hand. Furthermore It takes years and years of practice to master this art form.

Once cut and planed to thickness the pieces are fit together without the use of any fasteners. The tolerance is no more than .025 of a millimeter.

Not Just For Nobility

This art form has been in existence for over 1200 years. Originally it was only available to the nobility of Japan. Eventually it found it’s way into traditional Japanese homes. In addition many homes and commercial spaces in Japan today would have some form of Kumiko as a decoration, or as a functional piece.

To Block Light

In Japan windows and room dividers can be covered with a functional Shoji piece. It could be a window covering, a screen, sliding doors, etc. In addition these pieces are many times covered with a translucent material, such as Washi paper. This allows light to pass through while blocking glaring sunrays.

The woodworking art form of Kumiko is used as a structural member in Shoji, but more so as a decorative member.

Over 300 patterns

There are over 300 known Kumiko patterns. Furthermore each of these patterns has a special meaning in the Japanese culture.

This piece (16″ x 20″) includes two Kumiko patterns and designed transition patterns. The Kumiko patterns are Asanoha and Sekura.

It is designed as a family tree. On the left there are four Asanoha patterns representing grandparents. Two Asanoha patterns in the center represent parents. In addition Two Sekura patterns on right represent grandchildren.

Just one possibility of many.

What Is Shoji?

When we hear the word Shoji often times a Shoji changing screen comes to mind. In addition, if you do a little more research you will find out that, the Japanese word Shoji means “to block light”, so Shoji is used for a variety of purposes in traditional Japanese homes.

Traditional Use Of Shoji

It can be found in traditional and modern Japanese homes and other buildings in other forms than a Shoji screen. In addition Shoji is used as shades for windows and doors. Furthermore Shoji is used for sliding doors and room dividers.

In the Shoji lamp at left, washi paper, is used to dampen the light and give a muted light. Furthermore these and other items using Shoji are built using Kumiko.

Articles and Resources

It’s all about education. In addition I earn a small commission from some links in my articles. This is at no extra cost to you. You get the same prices, sales and discounts as anyone else. These commissions go towards educating people interested in learning the art of Kumiko. And to support local food banks. In fact 10% of all profit goes towards food banks. If you make a purchase I want to thank you in advance.

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