What is shibari?

What is shibari?

In Japanese, “shibari” simply means “to tie”. The origin of shibari lie in the Edo period of Japan during which the Samurai would use rope for capture and restraint of criminals (a martial art called Hojo-jutsu).

It isn’t until the the early 1900’s however, after the end of the Edo period, that rope bondage becomes a source of erotic imagery in drawings and paintings. Ito Seiu in particular is recognised as the ‘father of modern kinbaku/shibari’.

The popularisation of shibari in recent years has meant that shibari is moving beyond its taboo origins and developing into an art form in its own right.

In shibari the model is the canvas, the rope is the paint and brush, and the rigger is the rope artist.