Bunka is a knitted rayon cord that is similar to the material used to make decorative tassles and graduation tassels. It is shiney, and has a nice drape. This trim is especially valuable to miniaturists, because if the thread is pulled, it unravels into a lovely, loopy, stretchy thread which can be used for many things. Notice the end of the cord in the photograph. It has been unraveled.
The word 'bunka' comes from a Japanese form of punch embroidery. The needle art is called 'bunka', and the thread that is used is actually called 'kayo'. However, the incorrect term for the thread, 'bunka', seems to be more popular among miniaturists. In the art of bunka embroidery, the curly nature of the unraveled cord allows it to be stretched, or left loopy to give the embroidery different textures and appearances.
Bunka is available in dozens of colors. Varigated bunka and metallic bunka threads are also available.
One is not likely to find bunka in craft stores or fabric stores. Some miniature stores carry bunka, and some vendors sell bunka at miniature shows.
If you live near a miniature store, please check with them to see if they sell bunka. Support your local stores! (If your local store does not carry bunka because the owners have never heard of it, feel free to print this page to take with you to the store. :-) ) If you are like me, and don't live within easy driving distance of a mini shop, there are mail-order sources available.
Send e-mail to me at nyssa at kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu