Commemorative tenugui designed by tattoo artist Shige for the exhibition PERSEVERANCE: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World. Tenugui (literally translated-"hand wiping") is a traditional, thin cotton towel used for everything from drying hands to carrying sake bottles. Before the 17th century in Japan, tenugui were made of silk and hemp and were products for the elite class. From the 17th through 19th centuries, the increase in public baths created a higher demand for tenugui among the common people. It was around this time that tenugui were used as promotional and commemorative products. 100% cotton. 12 x 35 inches.