A zabuton (Japanese cushion) is a furnishing item for placing the legs or buttocks under when sitting on the floor or tatami. A zabuton has a square shape with a side length of about ten centimetres and a thickness of several centimetres and is similar in shape to futon mattresses, only smaller.
Zabuton are not only used for sitting, but these simple objects are used in many ways, for example folded in half as a simple pillow, as an alternative to a small futon to put babies to sleep, or as protective clothing to protect the head from falling objects.
In recent years, with the change in lifestyle of the Japanese, zabuton were made to sit on chairs, and many small products adapted to the shape of chairs came into use.
The origin of zabuton dates back to the Kamakura period, and they became the form we know today in the middle of the Edo period, when they became widely used among ordinary people, although before that they were symbols of the power of high priests and other powerful people.
The traditional way to sit on zabuton is seiza style, where you kneel with your legs crossed under you and the tops of your feet resting on the floor, but they are also used cross-legged.