July 30, 2013
In Japan, there is a certain magic associated with stitching: the act of enclosing a body in cloth is rich in meaning and stitching a garment closed has power in it. It’s no wonder that stitches applied to children’s garments are done so intentionally, and that they are meant to protect the child from harm.
These protective stitches are called semamori, and shown here today is a semamori cho, or a practice album of decorative stitches that, when stitched on a child’s garment, would have been held in place one of the kimono’s two ties.
These semamori are decorative; some are auspicious, like the crane, above left, which is a wish for longevity. Sometimes semamori are a series of stitches on the back of a kimono, not decorative, like the kind shown here.
The paulownia flower is shown below left, and the genji ko, a marker in an incense memory game, is shown next to it.
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