Hitotsumi (infant’s kimono) Silk crepe, silk satin, plain weave silk, waste silk wadding, wool Stenciled, hand painted, appliqued When infant mortality rates were very high and medicine was rudimentary, families turned to superstition and symbolism to protect the lives of their vulnerable young children.   To this end, many children’s kimonos had talismans (osemamori) in the center of the back. While typically these consisted of a stitched vertical line, with an additional attached line angled down to the left for boys and down to the right for girls, in this case the talisman consists of two tiny bell flower blossoms and leaves in a sake cup inscribed ‘kotobuki’, meaning longevity or felicitations. The osemamori is made in oshie technique – silk wadding and then silk cloth cover a paper cutout center, giving the talisman dimensionality and an extra bit of flash.  The sea bream pattern in the material has auspicious connotations, so it seems likely that this little kimono was worn for a special occasion.

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