[ Content | Sidebar ]

An Edo Period Hemp Child’s Kimono

Written on November 17, 2009

What a beautifully colored and intricately decorated child’s kimono: this example woven from hemp dates to the mid-nineteenth century as we can tell by the large-size kamon or family crests seen on the sleeves and nape of this elaborate garment.

The images on this kimono are extremely finely rendered.  The white details are drawn by hand using a paste resist technique, in this case we can refer to this as yuzen-zome, an elaborate dyeing method very much associated with Kyoto–as well as Kanazawa–during Japan’s Edo Period.


The motives painted on this kimono are auspicious and intended to convey a wish for a long, healthy life.  The crane, of course, is a symbol of long life, as is the pine, both of which are magnificently drawn here.  Notice the intricacy of detail and the sure hand of the artisan who rendered these images.

The refined hand that depicted these delicate sprays of pine needles is remarkable: unusual and charming is the siege of fledgling cranes frolicking in and alighting on this old pine tree.  Note as well the pine needles strewn on the ground.  As pine needles fall in pairs, they are a symbol of conjugal fidelity, so layered into the multiple visual wishes for the child who wore this kimono was a special one for a happy marriage.


Below is a view of the inside of the kimono: I’m showing this view as the contrast of the benibana (safflower) resist dyed crepe silk detail is a lovely contrast to the maize colored hemp cloth, and I thought you’d enjoy seeing this.




Comments closed

  1. Comment by Martine:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is beautiful.

    November 17, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  2. Comment by caro:

    I don’t know which is more amazing in your recent posts, the shifu or this child’s kimono. What absolute treasures.

    November 17, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  3. Comment by Adina:

    Another fine touch to this kimono is the extra allusion to pines, which can be seen in the matsukawabishi shape of the border between the upper bodice and hem. A beautiful garment made by a truly skilled artisan.

    November 18, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  4. Comment by judy martin:

    I love visiting this blog as the information is so stimulating. The images of the shifu work in Canada were especially satisfying, but all of it – all of it is wonderful and much appreciated by so many. Thank you so much for maintaining this blog regularly.

    November 18, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  5. Comment by Sarah Bush:

    Gorgeous! So beautiful–I want to touch it!

    November 28, 2009 @ 5:47 pm