Mizuhiki is an ancient Japanese art form of knot tying that was traditionally employed by Japanese samurai warriors to tie up their long hair. In more recent times however it was often used to decorate women’s hair as well as fasten the hair of sumo wrestlers.
The unique cord is created from rice paper that has been tightly twisted before being starched to give it its strong, stiff structure. The cord is then coloured with thin plastic or silk threads to give it a more colourful appearance.
In modern times Mizuhiki was used for decorating purposes such as embellishments on envelopes and cards for special occasions like weddings and birthdays. Many have also said that this art of tying knots is symbolic of luck and unity, hence its significance on gifts.
Over time the different knots have taken on various forms including animals such as cranes, frogs, fish, dragons, and turtles as well as boats and flowers, all of which have their own unique meaning.