Shibori, stenciling

This is a woman’s cotton kimono, not an informal yukata. The huge ship, with sails billowing in the wind, is entirely rendered in several types of shibori. A great deal of planning went into the execution of this piece, which has very little in the way of repeat designs. The designer has done a masterful job of using positive and negative space.

The different positions of the three sails keep the viewer’s eye moving from place to place. Varying shades of blue show that the design underwent multiple dippings, increasing the amount of labor involved, and raising its cost.

shibori ship - sail detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1041

The ship itself, and the waves, are suggested with a bare minimum of lines, while the background is covered with miura shibori.

shibori ship - prow detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1042

Only the so-called Genji wheels at the shoulders and the jagged pine bark lozenge are repeated. The pine bark lozenge motif (matsukawabishi) frames the central design. Below you can see one of the four small undyed reinforcements that have been carefully sewn into the front and back each armpit to help limit wear and tear to this vulnerable area.

shibori ship - sleeve detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1044

A close-up of the pine bark lozenge.

shibori ship chevron detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1061

There is a partial lining down the center back of the kimono, which would have protected the design from bodily friction, and helped to absorb perspiration. The homespun lining, which appears to be a repurposed tenugui, echoes the nautical theme with dark ropes and anchors on a pale hemp leaf (asa-no-ha) background. (It appears to have been made with two separate stencils, and dyed two separate times. Anyone with more information on this is encouraged to write in.) The shibori outer also shows part of an anchor. Below, toward the right of the photograph, two of the anchor’s great crescent-shaped hooks thrust upward, and two point down.

shibori ship, front, lining Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1046

Here is a fiber detail of the lining.

shibori ship lining detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1053

It is always interesting to find traces that hint at the artisan’s work. Here, in the the upper right hand corner of the white rectangle, three stitches that accidentally got left behind after the dye process was complete.

shibori ship fiber detail with stitches Daily Japanese Textie IMG_1066

This kimono probably dates back to around the turn of the last century.