In Japanese, “Shibari” means “to tie.” The contemporary meaning of Shibari describes an ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage. And quite by accident I have been “roped in” (pun intended) to becoming a mannequin advisor to Shibari aficionado’s. Here’s why:

In Shibari, the model is the canvas, the rope is the paint and brush, and the rigger is the rope artist. If you don’t have a live model, then a mannequin is the next best substitute for the canvas. And as the owner of Mannequin Madness, I am THE resource for “all things mannequin related” so I had to learn about about the needs of Shibari practitioners.

At our warehouse in the SF Bay Area we’ve experienced an increase in the number of customers looking for specific styles of mannequins for Shibari needs. Initially people were hesitant about mentioning why they needed a certain pose. Most mannequins are in military style pose with arms at the side or one hand on hip, which is not what most Shibari practitioners want.

But once they realized my staff was nonjudgmental AND quite knowledgeable about Shibari, they opened up. And I started researching online about Shibari and became a fan. For those of you are who unable to come to our warehouse, you can shop our Shibari mannequin collection online.This blog post is about examples of mannequins for DISPLAYING your finished Shibari designs. Tomorrow’s post about the mannequins to buy for PRACTICING your Shibari techniques.

Note, all the mannequins in the post are from ABC mannequins a cutting edge mannequin manufacturer based in Italy. The images are from their flicker page. The photos really showcase how the right mannequin pose can really add to the artistic quality of Shibari binding.

At the moment we don’t have room in our packed showroom/warehouse to exhibit the mannequins like they did. I would love to be able to have a Shibari exhibition at our warehouse one day. #shibarigoals.

We sell styles of mannequins that are similar to the ABC brand in our Shibari mannequin Collection. We even have some used/pre-owned mannequins that are perfect for Shibari at discounted prices and free shipping.

When choosing mannequins for Shibari displays, most people prefer fiberglass or plastic (not cloth).  The reverse is true when using a mannequin to practice Shibari.

Mannequins with or without heads are equally popular. What is most important is the pose – the more dramatic and expressive the better. Mannequins with their fingers spread apart are also recommended. Some people want the legs close together so that the ankles can be bound, others want the legs almost in a spread eagle pose.

I prefer stark white or black mannequins versus realistic mannequins – with eye-make up, hair, and a “fleshtone” finish, like this one below. To me the wig and make-up fight with the rope for attention. But to each his own.

The movie, the Pleasure of Rope movie that explains how Shibari has grown from being a niche practice on the BDSM scene to become a popular passion for many men, women and couples throughout the West. I’m sure if you haven’t already seen Shibari exhibitions, you will soon.

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