Temari balls are a form of Japanese folk art which originated in China and was introduced to Japan around the 7th century A.D. These gorgeous embroidered balls are actually used in handball games, which seems insane to me. Flickr user NanaAkua posted these stunning photos of her 92-year-old grandmother’s collection, and immediately caught some media attention for the elderly artist. NanaAkua’s grandmother learned to make Temari balls in the 1960s, and since then her collection has grown to around 500 balls.
The colorful, meticulously-embroidered pieces are often made from threads pulled from old kimonos. They were traditionally made by parents who gave them to their children (or grandchildren) on New Year’s day. I am absolutely gobsmacked by the computer-generated-looking precision of her patterns. What an exceptional talent and exceptional mind this maker has!
You may see all of NanaAkua’s photos in her Flickr album.