Goten-mari (decorative silk thread balls) (Tsuruoka City)


Delicate and beautiful silk balls reflect the region's snowy climate and the patient character of the women who create them.
The product of a more than 350 year-old tradition, these decorative balls featuring bright colors and beautiful designs attract much attention. Although the technique of making silk balls was preserved among only a few former clansmen's households after the Meijii period (since 1868), Fumi Ueno reproduced these techniques during the 1960's and opened her "Ueno Goten-mari Classroom" to teach how to make Goten-mari. Presently her granddaughter, Yuki Ichikawa, carries on the Goten-mari crafting tradition.


Diverse patterns made by combining colors and shapes include Kiku-sashi (chrysanthemum flower pattern), Hana-sashi (flower pattern), Kikko (hexagonal pattern) and Mitsuhishi (three-diamond pattern).
The ball was originally made as a toy, made by covering a clamshell in sawdust and
making a core by winding around it with Zenmai (flowering fern) wool. Currently it
is made by putting rice hulls into a pouch which is then rolled up in white cotton or
nylon threads until it becomes round. It is then marked with a pattern, and finished
by winding silk threads or embroidering with lily yarn, resulting in diverse patterns.

Main Products

●Goten-mari   ●Goten-mari in a Case