Accession Number



Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1960-1979

Medium & Support
purple silk with tie dye floral design

59 13/16 in. x 53 1/8 in. ( 152 cm x 135 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Howard and Patricia Yamaguchi

Label copy
This kimono with a white chrysanthemum pattern was created using the shibori dyeing technique. Tiny pinches of fabric were twisted up and tightly bound with thread before the whole piece of cloth was dyed. After dyeing, the binds were
undone, leaving tiny dye-reserved rings of white around spots of color. Here these comprise the white lines of the flowers. Among the multiple methods of shibori dyeing and the infinite number of patterns that these may produce, the most common is kanoko shibori (meaning “fawn dapple,” a poetic reference to the dots on a fawn’s back). This painstaking technique was in vogue among the rich merchant class in
Edo (present-day Tokyo) in the aesthetically heightened era of Genroku (the end of the seventeenth century). The all-over dapple type, called sô shibori, in which the entire kimono is covered with tiny dapples, was considered so outrageously
luxurious that it was banned by the sumptuary laws of 1686.
Spring/Summer Gallery Rotation 2015
Layering has long been an important principle of stylish dress in Japanese traditional fashion. Court ladies in the Heian period (794–1185) wore multiple layers of colored robes (possible because the sleeves were much wider than on later kimono) and sumptuous woven-patterned jackets. At the collar, sleeves, and hem, the layers created waterfalls of elegant fabrics and colors. The ensemble, called jûni hitoe (meaning twelve layers), typically would have weighed about 40 pounds.
The jûni hitoe tradition is echoed in the modern style of wearing underkimono (or nagajuban) so that part of the collar, sleeves, and hem peek out from under the top layer of kimono. While most collars are white in twentieth-century fashion, the fabric of women’s underkimono is often a patterned red design. The color red was especially favored for underkimono in the Edo period (1615–1868),
as tradition held that it had protective power.
Some underkimono, such as the white one with maple leaves displayed in this section, were intended for wear during a particular season. In this case, autumn would have been subtly suggested through the glimpse of under-kimono through the kimono’s sleeves and at the hem.
(Wrapped in Silk & Gold Exhibition, Summer 2010)

Subject matter
This kimono required a labor intensive technique called shibori, in which hundreds of hours would have been spent tying up each small section where white can be seen on the kimono before immersing it in dye. Shibori textiles are very expensive due to the time and skill required to produce them.

Physical Description
Purple silk damask with hitome kanoko floral design in graduated scale, from small at collar to large at hem. Lining is plain white silk at the top, the lower third and sleeve ends are purple.

Primary Object Classification
Costume and Costume Accessories

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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Chrysanthemum (genus)

& Author Notes

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