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It is typically about 35 by 90 centimeters in size, plain woven and is almost always dyed with some pattern.
It can be used for anything a towel could be used for - as a washcloth, dishcloth, but often as a headband, souvenir or decoration. Towels made from terry cloth have replaced many of its use in the household. However tenugui are still popular as souvenirs, decorations, and as a head covering in kendo, where it functions as a sweatband, as extra padding beneath the headgear (men), and to identify the participants by team color.
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