Japanese Tatami mats are more than just a design element in Zen décor; they are steeped in ceremony and connected with prosperity and good fortune.
Originally used by Japanese nobility, these rectangular floor coverings are traditionally made with a rice straw core and a wetland rush grass covering, or “omote”. The Tatami omote is formed by tightly weaving the stems of soft rush into a soft mat covering. In early Japanese society, Tatami mats were associated with exalted members of society, whose privilege permitted them to sit on a Tatami mat, while others sat on a wooden floor.
The rules concerning Tatami mats are important to remember, especially if you are aiming for a traditional, and “auspicious”, Japanese arrangement.
According to Japanese tradition, an “auspicious” layout means that Tatami mats must never be laid out in a grid pattern, meaning at no point should the corners of three or more mats touch. An auspicious layout is achieved when the junctions of the mats form a “T” shape. An “inauspicious” layout, which forms a “+” shape, is believed to bring bad fortune to a home.
While Tatami is associated with longstanding Japanese traditions, such as tea ceremonies, most modern Japanese homes still have a Tatami room. Today, Tatami is still commonly used for Japanese religious rites and ceremonies, but many people also use them for protective purposes during martial arts training, such as Judo.
Traditional Tatami mats are exactly twice as long as they are wide, and usually have “heri” cloth edging on the long sides. According to Japanese culture, Tatami floor mats must be kept as clean as a dining table or bedding surface at all times.
With their rich, high quality, natural bamboo slat surface, Tatami mats can be used to enhance any room décor. They are durable, alluring and easy to maintain.