Tatami Mats: Traditional Beds in Japanese Homes and How to Use It
Tatami Mats are the traditional flooring used in Japan especially during ceremonies and rituals. In Japanese Tradition, tatami mat is an item of luxury of which the only wealthy can possess. In addition, woven mats did encompass the entire room. It wasn’t until the 15th century, where Zashiki, or entire-room tatami was popularized. Eventually in the 17th century, the people of Japan was able to enjoy the a proper tatami and in the Modern era, Washitsu, meaning, Japanese-style room, was introduced .
What are Tatami Mats Made Of
In History, tatami mats is supposed to be made with rice straw. It is also thin and fold able straw mats where the name tatamu, meaning to fold or to file, was given. However, as times changed, the modern tatami is now made with Igusa, or rush, and cloth. A newly made tatami is color green but turns yellow as it ages.
Tatami mats must be 90 mm x 1820 mm in size and since it needs to be woven in, woven mats are produced by machines. For instance, one mat needs 4000 to 7000 rush which a machine will weave for an hour and a half. However, there are four tatami sizes; Kyouma, Chuukyouma, Edoma and Danchima. Despite having standard sizes, it is important to note that tatami mats are made to fit the space of the room, it is not the room that will adjust to the mat.
How to Arrange and Maintain the Quality of Tatami Mats
Learn more about the timeless influence of Japanese Interior
Using a Tatami mat, everyone must follow the proper etiquette and maintenance to preserve the material. Most important to remember is that no one is allowed to wear any footwear inside a tatami room. This is to keep the mats clean. Also, the formal way of sitting down in a tatami mat, or in Japan in general, is called Seiza, or bending your legs and sitting down on them. The more casual way is crossing your legs.
In addition, tatami mats are weak to humidity since it is prone to molding. To prevent molds and to keep the mats clean, a vacuum set in Tatami mode and a dry cloth will help to remove dust since it is impossible to clean the mats entirely. The life span of a Tatami mat is five to six years but if the mat is starting yellow, you can reverse it or you can replace.
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