Important Cultural PropertyKosode (kimono with small wrist openings), with wisteria motif on fabric dyed in white, black and red

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  • 1 suit
  • L140.8 yuki64.0
  • Edo period/17th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • I-4072

 Considering the long designs and soft texture, the figured satin fabric of this kimono must have been made in China. The blackish red produced by dyeing black over red was a popular color in the early Edo period. The entire kimono is dyed into two parts of blackish red and white via a tie-dye technique. A noshi pattern (a pattern of two-colored cords tied like a ribbon) flows from the right shoulder through the waist to the bottom of the kimono, in which a flower arabesque and kisshomon (patterns symbolizing good fortune), such as cranes, turtles, pine and bamboo trees, are created elaborately with red, light yellow-green, yellow and white silk threads. In circle designs spread sparsely over the kimono, a pattern of minute rings is applied in indigo blue via a tie-dye technique or a motif of mossy old turtle is embroidered. Twisted gold yarn is used and fixed via komanui (a technique to place thick yarn with a thread) in some of the embroidered areas, which suggests that a new decoration technique was introduced for the creation of kosode (kimono with small wrist openings). Since there are two characters of "big" and "small" in the preliminary drawings for the circle design, it seems that it was originally an almanac design, which was later changed to the current design. Long red and white flowers like wisteria, which are dyed into the fabric, add colorfulness and feminine gorgeousness to the kimono. On the black parts with no embroidery, flower arabesque, hemp leaf and haze patterns are created by applying glue using molds and pasting gold leaf over it. The design, where patterns filled every space of the kimono, was called "jinashi (ground fabric with no blank space)." Having a jinashi kosode as a formal outfit was a must among women in the early Edo period.