Boy’s omiyamairi
Ro silk
Dyed and handpainted with dyes and pigments

Traditionally, when a new infant is first presented to the local temple, he or she is draped in an omiyamairi. It is shaped like a kimono, but is used almost like a sling. The two long sashes are wrapped around the neck of the person holding the baby, and auspicious designs envelop the baby and its guardian.

This omiyamairi is charming in its subtlety. Its colors are muted, and rather than have scenes of brave samurai, sophisticated nobles or muscular animals, it has a homey scene of Daikoku (left), the god of wealth and agriculture, and Ebisu, right, the god of fishermen and merchants. Two of the seven lucky gods, they are hard at work, harvesting seaweed. Although Ebisu is usually shown with a sea bream, and Daikoku with bales of rice, they are still identifiable without those trademarks by their hats. (Double click to enlarge all photos.)

On the front of the omiyamairi are more boats. Here too the message is subtle. A popular theme of auspicious textiles is the Treasure Boat, or Takarabune. Usually it is shown as a massive colorful ship, its flags blazing and its deck loaded to capacity with each of the seven treasures. In this omiyamairi the boats are barely big enough for two people, and the treasures are alluded to by the lucky key and mallet. The mallet is another trademark of Daikoku, and the half-seen round white form probably alludes to his rice bag.

This is a summer omiyamairi in ro weave, which is open and airy in the sultry weather.