All About Tatami
All about Tatami
Tatami (畳 tatami?) mats are a traditional Japanese flooring. The top surface is made of woven straw. Traditional tatami are packed with straw. Nowadays some of them are packed with styrofoam. Tatami are individual mats. They have a uniform size and shape. They have borders of brocade or plain green cloth.
Tatami were originally a luxury item for the wealthy at a time when lower classes had mat-covered dirt floors. Tatami were gradually popularized. They finally reached the homes of commoners towards the end of the 17th century.
Igusa is a perennial plant of the family of igusa. Igusa smells good. It has a fresh, grassy smell. In English, they are called rushes. Igusa blooms from May through June. The plant grows up to a length of 100 centimeters or less. They grow in marshes where sunshine is good. In Japan, there are 30 kinds of igusa growing in many different areas.
Tatami is made from natural igusa that must be flexible from the root to the tip, and the thickness and the color varies slightly. About 4000 to 7000 igusa are used for the tatami. Generally the best tatami uses more and longer igusa rushes.
There are many benefits in using igusa such as air purification, heat insulation, elasticity, cooling (especially in hot summer seasons), eco-friendly and sound absorbing qualities. Igusa tatami is also smooth to the touch, so it is comfortable for babies and young children. Most Japanese like tatami. Many homes have at least one tatami room.