Kimono Fragment, with Embroidered and Couched Designs of Plum, Bamboo and PineArtist(s)JapaneseArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Date1860-1900Medium & Supportsilk crepe (chirimen) with embroidery and couched metallic threadsDimensions
22 1/8 in x 18 1/8 in x 3/16 in (56.2 cm x 46.04 cm x 0.48 cm)Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
Pine, bamboo and plum are the "three friends of winter": pines are always green (a symbol of longevity), bamboo do not bend with the weight of snow (integrity), and plum flowers bloom in the midst of winter (fortitude). Here these popular motifs have been embroidered onto a rose-dyed silk crepe. The black threads that once outlined the tree trunk have mostly fallen away; they were dyed with iron, which oxidizes and rots the threads with exposure to light.
Metallic embroidery thread came into use in the seventeenth century. It was made by wrapping tiny strips of gold- or silver-foil coated paper around a silk or cotton fiber. Because it could not be passed through the cloth without damage, it was laid on top of the fabric and couched down at intervals with silk thread.
Exhibited in "Japanese Costumes & Ceramics, Past & Present," October 2001-February 2002. Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian ArtPrimary Object Classification Textile Primary Object TypefragmentCollection AreaAsianRights
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