My friend V lent me her marudai:She did a series of workshops in Kumihimo--traditional Japanese braiding--some years ago, and this was made for her. In the one day workshop I participated in at the Guild's Summer School, the marudai was variously referred to as a "loom"or "stool". "Loom" because braiding is a form of weaving and this device holds the threads so they can be manipulated to form a braid. "Stool", I think just because of the appearance--it's not good to sit on your marudai! If I remember correctly the word "marudai" translates as "mirror"--the smooth polish of the top surface being its most important characteristic.
OK, now I have the loan of a marudai. Yay! I'd like to do a bit of practice on it and just get a feel for the skills involved. I loved what I did at the workshop--the process more than the product, but I can only hope the product will improve. If I'm still hooked, I'll be trying to make my own. Meanwhile, my next challenge is to make or find weighted bobbins to hold the threads.