Futon cover
Double kasuri

This futon cover consists of four panels with two separate designs: a castle in weft kasuri, and a geometric design in double kasuri. The castles are all woven in the same direction, but the panels have been placed alternately right side up and upside down so the bedding has no right or wrong direction.

There is an extraordinary range of motifs in antique e kasuri, some of which are very rare. This castle design was very popular.

This style of kasuri is called Kurume kasuri (or Kurume gasuri), after the region in Kyushu (southern Japan) where it originated, as well as e kasuri (or e gasuri), meaning picture kasuri.

Above, a close up of the tomoe mon. The outer cross is in double kasuri; the crest is in weft kasuri. Below, a close up of the stylized pine trees in weft kasuri.

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Kimono with designs of Japanese syllabary
Silk crepe
Katazome (stenciled)

Styled after Keisuke Serizawa

Kimono with designs of factories and smoke
Stenciled warps and wefts

In the ’20s, artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Adriaan Lubbers documented the rise of The Machine Age with their renderings of tall buildings lit up at night and smoking factories. Japanese textile artists often took their inspiration from western trends in art, as shown here.

Pair of suneate (shinguards)
Horsehair, handspun cotton

In the first picture, a samurai ties on suneate with metal reinforcements. In the second (a Hokusai print of Mt. Fuji seen from Kajikizawa), a fisherman in simpler suneate. It was believed that indigo was effective as an insect repellant. Very likely, the fisherman’s shinguards were dyed in indigo.


Hokusai - Mt. Fuji seen from Kajikizawa

Hitoe (unlined kimono) with boat, wave and ripple motifs
Silk or rayon
Stenciled warps, stenciled and hand tie-dyed wefts (meisen)

The design this kimono is reminiscent of similar kimonos with banana or bamboo leaves, but the use of traditional Japanese boats – particularly since they are out of context and somewhat abstract in their unrealistic positions – conveys a sense of playfulness on the part of the designer. The red background indicates that it was made for a young unmarried woman.

Yamamayu (wild silk), chirimen (highly twisted silk), wata (waste silk)
Woven, lightly padded

In this kimono, the threads that appear white are actually colorless, and reflect light.  Called yamamayu (literally, mountain silk cocoons), these fibers resist the absorption of dyes.  A whole cloth can therefore be immersed in a single dye bath, but the cloth that emerges will have a plaid effect if yamamayu threads have been used at intervals in the warps and wefts, as seen here.

Girl’s Omiyamairi (kimono for presentation to the temple); eight views of Omi
Padded silk
Hand painted surface and lining in sumi, dyes and pigments; rice paste resist

This girl’s omiyamairi (kimono for infant’s first shrine presentation) depicts a well known design motif: the traditional eight views of Omi (present day Lake Biwa). The three most dramatic views are painted on the back, the side most visible to observers. They are the autumn moon on Ishiyama Temple at center back, the evening snow on Mt. Hira on the left sleeve, and the night rain on Karasaki on the right sleeve. The delicate and detailed painting continues not only to the front of the kimono and the elegant padded hem, but to the interior lining of the skirt. There it would have been seen by very few people, and so was a luxurious extra touch. This would have been worn by the new daughter of a wealthy family.

The sleeve on the left side of this photo depicts Miidera (Mii Temple), and the sleeve on the right side depicts the returning boats at Yabase.

This kimono style, with its pale background color, dark-to-light, top-to-bottom shading and realistic designs primarily in sumi concentrated at the base of the material, was very popular close to the turn of the 20th century for both adults and children.

Detail, late 20th century scarf
Highly twisted cotton thread
by Junichi Arai

Okinawan kimono
Probably bashofu (banana fiber)
Warp kasuri

Yogi (padded bed covering)
Handspun cotton, indigo
Rice paste resist, stencils

Design of mythical baku. Baku were said to eat bad dreams, making them appropriate designs for yogi.


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