Katabira fragment
Asa, gilt paper-backed couched thread, silk thread
Stenciled, embroidered

This is a fragment of a katabira, or summer kosode, worn by a wealthy woman. Depicted are cherry blossoms – some in outline only, some in red (safflower?) silk, and others in suribitta, or stenciled kanoko shibori. In the middle is the character for bird in satin stitch. Calligraphy as part of kosode design was popular for much of the 18th century. This particular example, mixing the concept for bird with actual blossoms, shows sophistication and subtle humor on the part of the designer. The soft, loose embroidery with untwisted threads is typical of the period.

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