Tatami is a rush-covered straw mat used for flooring and dates back to the Nara Period when the word, tatami, first appeared in Kojiki, the oldest Japanese book written in 712.
Originally a luxury item available only to the wealthy, tatami were thin handmade mats that could be rolled up or placed on top of wooden flooring for the highest aristocrats and nobles to use as seating. In the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), nobles started to spread and install tatami to cover entire floors, and these rooms became known as zashiki, measured by the number of tatami mats that could be configured to fit in a room.
In the 16th century, Sen no Rikyu, the founding tea master in Japan, began incorporating tatami in tea rooms, and by the 17th century tatami was common-place and could be found in everyday homes. Even to this day regardless of whether a floor is wooden, carpeted or tatami, rooms in Japan, are measured by tatami fit — for example, “a 6-mat room.” In recent years, however, the demand for tatami has decreased as young people opt for easy-to-clean, modern flooring.
Similar to other traditional Japanese crafts, the tatami industry is having to find ways to evolve and adjust to a new market.

Technique: weaving

Materials: igusa, natural herbs

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