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Nankin Tamasudare Answered

I would like to know how to make the traditional Japanese Storytelling Mat known as Nankin Tamasudare. I wanted one for myself but for some reason they are priced at hundreds of dollars here in the USA. They can only be found at sellers of "magic supplies".
Here is a link to what I am talking about  http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/nankin-tamasudare.
Can anyone help?



6 years ago

The only info's I can find are on Japanese cultural websites and not really helpful.

But after checking a bunch of online videos I have to say it seems to pretty basic.

I have seen 2 variation, one uses round bamboo sticks, the other sticks cut in half lenght wise.

I have also seen up to three variation in thickness and lenght of the singe sticks and the whole "whip".

That leaves me with the conclusion that they are built to a specific purpose and that they are matched to the person using it.

I don't have any bamboo sitting around so I can try it or make a nice series of pics, instead I will try my best to explain how I would proceed making one:

Using bamboo sticks of similar lenght and thickness is the start, I estimate about 80 at at least 40cm lenght for a binding test.

A few sticks need to be longer to form the handle ends.

Starting with disregard to the handles;

Use one bamboo stick and string to attach the next one.

At 40cm lenght the second one should start at about 10cm.

One binding right at the end of the second stick and either a second one about 10cm higher or just continue winding the string up if you have enough.

The next stick should be joined with 5cm overlap to top binding of the second and right next to, either on the left or right.

Use the same binding but at the overlap to the previous stick bind them all together.

Continue in the same manner and direction, e.g. next stick always to the right or always to the left.

So you will end up with always three sticks bound together in a continous way.

This "solid" center will give it the stablity while at the same keeping it flexible in all directions.

When twisted or bent the single sticks will poke up into the direction of the bend.

For the end you need to join some longer pieces and add shorter bits to form a round handle that is the right diameter for your hands to hold.

The above is only a starting point and you have to experiment with the lenght of the bindings and if you only join three sticks together or more - it will all affect the handling and flexibility.

Same for the thickness of the bamboo, thin material will be very flexible, almost like a thick rope, while thick bamboo is really stiff, resulting in something with the feel of a long poly pipe.


Reply 6 years ago

Downunder35m, So, If I understand you properly. You dont feel that the bamboo actually slides freely in the bindings at any point? I had the impression that the slats were sliding in a loose loop but were stopped from coming completely out but some "stationary" points. I will work on your idea.


Reply 6 years ago

That is a good point but one I could not really verify in any of the videos I saw.

There are many variations of this thing in the land where the sun goes up.

Some are just like a whip while others seem to be able to fold into screens and blinds as well.

I saw one that started as flat "curtian" like these bamboo blinds for the window.

Creating a working sliding mechanism with natural bamboo is a massive task.

I think it depends on the type of performance that determines what type of bamboo "whip" is used.

There are some ways I could think of to make the sticks slide but none that would be easy due to the variations in diameter on the bamboo.

Easiest would be the use of rings attached to the sticks and some bindings to limit the travel, but with this I don't see how it can stay stable during use - unless it is twisted to make it "solid" and untwisted to move the sticks during the performance.

Without the massive pricetag I would say buy one to study the design, but maybe you can find a shop that is close enough for a visit?


6 years ago

Is there something special about the cords holding the bamboo together?