Although possibly dating back as far as the middle of the Nara period, the name, meaning \”bath spread\”, derives from
the Edo period practice of using them to bundle clothes while at the sentō (public baths; public furo) to prevent a mix-up of
the bathers’ clothes. Before becoming associated with public baths, furoshiki were known as hirazutsumi (平包), or flat folded bundle.
Eventually, the furoshiki’s usage extended to serve as a means for merchants to transport their wares or to protect and decorate a gift.
Furoshiki are, still, commonly used to wrap and transport lunch boxes (bento) and often double as a table mat for the lunch.