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Special! These are traditional hand woven sageo. The pattern is called "Bisyamon Kikko" - a turtle shell design. Total Length: About 240-250 cm including tassels or about 220 cm excluding tassels. The weave has some give so dimensions are approximate depending upon how taut the sageo has been drawn. You can adjust the lengths according to your needs by hemming the tassels. Woven using traditional methods using a "Takadai" styled loom, this turtle shell pattern is one of the most complex to make. Our hand woven sageo are exclusively made for by one of Japan's recognized cultural assets (Dento Kougeishi) as awarded by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs charged with protecting Japan's rich cultural and historical treasures. These sageo are functional pieces of armor, personal expressions of taste and works of art worthy of being protected so as not to be lost to history.

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Your sword is wearing ancient technology from a protected tradition!

Collectors think of sageo as ornamentation for swords and some knots can appear to be very complex.  Sword practitioners understand the function of securing the sword to the obi by using the sageo.  Various styles of swordsmanship have different ways of tying the knot as identifiers.  When bowing to start and complete practice, there are also many rituals regarding how the sageo is manipulated.

sageo and armorBut the story of the sageo is a long and impressive journey. The oldest example still on view dates back to Nara Jidai (8th centuries).  In Heian Jidai (8th-12th centuries), silk sageo weaves were very intricate as were the designs and myriad colors utilized. These works of art graced the clothing of the Nobel class.  With the emergence of the warrior class, these richly woven cords were considered armor. The idea that sageo would be converted for use as obi jime  (tying cords) with kimono did not emerge until the Meiji government (1852-1912) banned the warrior class and the wearing of two swords (Haitorei).  sageo

Today, we are genuinely honored that we are able to provide the finest work available anywhere as well as support the craft art of the weave by working with national living cultural assets (Dento Kogeishi) that are 8 generations old. (This title requirement is that the craft has been preserved without interruption for a minimum of 3 generations).

There are many different weaves, each stunning for form as well as function. When we use the word "weave", we're not talking about a simple twist or weave with one to four threads.  These typically have between 40 and 64 threads depending upon pattern.  The more threads, the tighter and stronger the finished product will be.  By weaving in numerous directlons strength is amplified so that the sageo earned the reputation as armor and could be used by the warrior.  Some weaves of old had cin excess of 200 interlocking threads.sageo

We are sometimes asked why the dyed silk of a sageo doesn't match the silk of ito - the wrap on the handle (tsuka) of a Japanese sword or iaito.  There are several excellent reasons for this; First the weaves are different as the purposes are different andw ould absorb the dye differently, Second, the sageo and the ito are not dyed together by the same maker in the same vat at the same time.  Sometimes a "matched" color set can actually indicate that the quality is inferior or decorative in nature as the same weave is being used for both sageo and ito ignoring the fact that the weave has a specific function.

Swordstore's special sageo have tassels at both ends that can be cut to the client's preference.  It is this tassel that demonstrates that we are offering the highest grade silk sageo available anywhere. We offer solid colors, gorgeous gradients, two color in Kikko (turtle shell) pattern, Bishamon Kikko  (name of deity)  with a superior weave and Yamato styles.  We also offer custom lengths, colors and pattern choices.  An expert craftsman will expend more than 20 hours of labor to make one sageo!


sageo Taking Care of Your Crafted Silk Sageo:


Silk Sageo are said to have a life!  Steaming the sageo will soften the thread.  Re-steaming will stiffen the thread again.  

By steaming the fusa (ends) indirectly you can stretch or comb the tassels as well.

Thank you for purchasing this piece of Japanese historical folk art!





This video clip demonstrates how to:

  • Thread the sageo
  • Basic tie
  • Complex ties