Temari balls, a kind of folk toy, originated in China and spread to Japan in the 15th or 16th century. Japanese mothers made temari balls for their children to play with from old clothing wrapped into a tight sphere and wound with strips of fabric. From a plaything of recyled clothes, the ball evolved into an art form of aristocratic and noble women. They wound their temari balls with brilliantly colored strings into intricate geometric patterns. The patterns are similar to those found in a kaleidoscope. A gift of a temari ball represents deep friendship and loyalty and a wish for good fortune.


  • Title: Folk toy:temari ball
  • Date Created: ca. 1980
  • Location: Japan
  • Subject Keywords: home craft
  • Type: More Toys
  • Medium: fabric, string
  • Object ID: 111.482
  • Credit Line: Gift of David B. Tischler

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