Kosode (kimono with small sleeve openings)
Chijimi silk, plain silk lining, paper-backed gold thread
Embroidery, shibori dyeing

This fragile kosode most likely belonged to a member of the military aristocracy. The design seems to recall the Noh play, Tsutsumi no Taki – Waterfall of Drums. Literary allusions were popular themes among the aristrocracy, challenging viewers to identify the origins of the design.

This would have been a very luxurious piece, befitting a person of high social rank. The outer material is dyed a deep safflower, with gold couching throughout.

In the photo above, there is clear damage to the gold couching near the waist, probably due to friction with the obi, showing that this kosode was worn repeatedly.

The close-up of the drum tassel shows some of the the finely detailed and expertly executed embroidery.

In another touch of luxury, the large stones were outlined in luxurious materials. Above, one stone was satin-stitched in safflower-dyed silk thread.

Another stone was outlined in gold couching.

This stone with purple shading may have been embroidered in honmurasaki, a favorite purple dye that was also prohibitively expensive.

Above, where some of the couching has come loose, the black underdrawings can be seen.

In the above photo, much of the black thread is missing, probably disintegrated by the iron mordant that made the color possible. Instead, the delicate holes of the embroidery work are visible.

Below, a slight crinkling in the fabric can be seen. This is due to differences in the twisting of the threads.

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