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Girl’s Omiyamairi (kimono for presentation to the temple); eight views of Omi
Padded silk
Hand painted surface and lining in sumi, dyes and pigments; rice paste resist

This girl’s omiyamairi (kimono for infant’s first shrine presentation) depicts a well known design motif: the traditional eight views of Omi (present day Lake Biwa). The three most dramatic views are painted on the back, the side most visible to observers. They are the autumn moon on Ishiyama Temple at center back, the evening snow on Mt. Hira on the left sleeve, and the night rain on Karasaki on the right sleeve. The delicate and detailed painting continues not only to the front of the kimono and the elegant padded hem, but to the interior lining of the skirt. There it would have been seen by very few people, and so was a luxurious extra touch. This would have been worn by the new daughter of a wealthy family.

The sleeve on the left side of this photo depicts Miidera (Mii Temple), and the sleeve on the right side depicts the returning boats at Yabase.

This kimono style, with its pale background color, dark-to-light, top-to-bottom shading and realistic designs primarily in sumi concentrated at the base of the material, was very popular close to the turn of the 20th century for both adults and children.


Detail, late 20th century scarf
Highly twisted cotton thread
by Junichi Arai

Okinawan kimono
Probably bashofu (banana fiber)
Warp kasuri

Yogi (padded bed covering)
Handspun cotton, indigo
Rice paste resist, stencils

Design of mythical baku. Baku were said to eat bad dreams, making them appropriate designs for yogi.

Japanese doll in balloon Daily Japanese Textile IMG_8525

Infant aloft in balloon
Silk, paper, wadding, gofun (powdered shell), metal, hair
Hand painted; probably safflower dye and chemical purple dye

Goodbye to 2015!

On this, the last day of 2015, Daily Japanese Textile would like to thank all its readers, and wish everyone a happy and healthy 2016.

Japanese doll in balloon close up Daily Japanese Textiles IMG_8528

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining open front Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6353

Boy’s kimono
Cotton, cotton padding
Double kasuri, stenciling (?)

This boy’s kimono has a very traditional double kasuri outer, but a charming western-flavored lining.

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining closed back Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6352

The western influence notwithstanding, puppies in snow are an old Japanese design theme, and the Japanese snowmen are called yuki daruma – snow daruma – and thus would not have the traditional western top hats, carrot noses, scarves or tree branch arms.

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining inside out Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6357

The undated photo below gives some idea of the popularity of kasuri kimonos such as this one for young boys’ everyday wear.

early 20th century school boys wearing kasuri

Ordinarily, these kimonos would have an unpatterned lining. This lining was probably a special treat that both the parent and the child enjoyed.

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining snowman Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6359

Only at the shoulders of the lining are a few slap-dash stitches visible.

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining shoulder stitching Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6358

A close up of the double kasuri.

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining kasuri close up Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6361

A close up of the lining material.

boy's double kasuri with puppies, snowmen lining puppy close up Daily Japanese Textile IMG_6363

Undated photo of young boy in photo studio wearing similar kasuri kimono and matching hat.

young japanese boy on trike wearing kasuri, matching hat

Hokusai’s painting of puppies in snow.

Hokusai puppies in snow

mallet fukusa Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3004

Fukusa (gift cover)
Silk, gilt thread
Dyed, embroidered, couching

Fukusa are placed over gifts as part of the presentation process. Often the design on the fukusa bears a relationship to the nature of the gift. Since this fukusa depicts the seven treasures, it may have been meant to cover a wedding gift, for example. This is a small fukusa – only 11″ x 12″, so it is intriguing to think what gift or gifts it might have covered.

The rich deep purple appears to be hon murasaki, a dye derived from the gromwell root that was much loved, but difficult to process, expensive, and fugitive. Much information about this fukusa remains unknown, including whether it was originally a fukusa, or is a skillfully recycled fragment from a very luxurious gown.

However, the reverse of the fukusa (below), likely dyed with what is now very faded and discolored safflower, contains some important information.

mallet fukusa reverse Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3015

This inscription indicates that it was donated to a temple following the owner’s death. Below, on the first line to the right, is the date of the inscription: seventh year of Kansei (an era within the Edo period), the seventh lunar month, which places the donation at around 1796. As noted in a previous posting, this is the latest possible date of the fukusa. If the fukusa was among the owner’s possessions since childhood, or part of an inheritance, it could be substantially older.

mallet fukusa date Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3013

The next portion (below) is written in fragments of sentences [right to left]:
This temple’s twentieth
Genchi-in Hakudou (priestess’s name)
Acceptance of the offering
Twenty disciples

mallet fukusa this temple... Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3012

On the left side of the fukusa, the inscription continues:
This temple’s twenty-fifth (priest)
Reishin Nikkai (possibly Reishin Gekkai)

A possible interpretation is that in commemoration of the death of Genchi-in Hakudou, the twentieth priestess, twenty of her disciples donated the fukusa to the temple (or were present at the donation), and the twenty-fifth priest (or priestess) took charge of formally accepting the donation.

mallet fukusa toritsuginin... Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3011

The stitches in the hat of invisibility are sewn in such a way as to hint at the texture and three dimensionality of the hat. Simple satin stitch could have been used to fill in the space, but some of the stitchwork is arranged to emphasize the hat’s conical shape.

mallet fukusa hat Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3007

The soft, loose, untwisted threads seen here lost popularity in the later Edo period.

mallet fukusa cape of invisibility Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3009

The cloves, though very small, are minutely detailed.

mallet fukusa cloves Daily Japanese Textile IMG_3008

For the reading of the inscription, Daily Japanese Textile was very fortunate to have the invaluable assistance of a person who wishes to remain anonymous.

reversible sashiko hanten HIDA Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0013

Cotton (homespun)
Sashiko, stenciling

Like many of the firemen’s garments already shown here, this hanten is layered and sashiko-stitched, but it is not clearly labeled as belonging to any firemen’s group.

reversible sashiko hanten HI Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0014

In keeping with the bold graphic style of many happi and hanten, there is a single large crest at the center back and a design that encircles the hemline. In the crest is the character hi – 比 – and at the hem the character ta – 田 – is placed on an angle, disguising its practical purpose. The name Hida is not unusual in Japan.

reversible sashiko hanten TA Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0016

The jacket is completely reversible. When turned inside out, the design is completely different. The character at the top, 富, is probably read tomi.

reversible sashiko hanten TOMI Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0021

All three characters have been rendered with some artistic license. The left ‘foot’ of the word hi turns up to accommodate the circle; the ‘bracket’ at the top of tomi enfolds nearly the whole character. Craftsmen had reference books showing how to write characters in different styles. The design below tomi has been harder to identify.

reversible sashiko hanten fiber close up Daily Japanese Textile IMG_0026

man's shibori juban back Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1729

Man’s juban

This shibori technique is referred to as mino shibori because the lines that radiate from the neck resemble the straw raincoats, or mino, worn in traditional Japan.

man's shibori juban front Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1731

This juban is an under layer, but the mino technique, seen in outer wear, is associated with festival use.

man's shibori juban back detail Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1724

man's shibori juban fiber close up Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1718

nagabakama - kataginu, hakama - Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1783

Nagabakama (long hakama)
Asa, whalebone, koyori (paper thread)
Edo komon (small scale stenciling); pigment, hand painted

For formal occasions, samurai might wear hakama (divided skirt) whose legs were so long as to actually trail behind the wearer. Because of the resulting difficulty of navigation, the effect of the extra length was not only to promote the slow, dignified movement appropriate to a formal occasion, but also to impede possible assassination attempts. In this two piece ensemble, called a kamishimo (literally, upper and lower), the length of the kataginu from neck to waist is approximately 28 inches, while the length of the hakama from waist to hem is 64 inches.

nagabakama - expanded legs - Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1792

Above, the legs have been pulled to their widest to give some idea of the volume of fabric. These are close to 20 inches wide.

Below, the kataginu has been lifted in order to better show the length of the hakama. The front of the kataginu (unseen) has light paper reinforcement; the winged shape of the kataginu is maintained by long, thin, flexible material. In some instances bamboo is used; in this case whale bone has been employed.

nagabakama - kataginu lifted - Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1791

This angled piece goes against the small of the back. The Edo komon material is wrapped around a light, hard wooden core, probably paulownia. The folds at each side are typical of hakama.

nagabakama - back board - Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1781

Below is a close-up of the crest on the folded front of the kataginu. Note the fine paint work on the crest.

nagabakama - crest - Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1775

Here, the fact that the fibers are obscured unevenly by the color indicates that pigment, not dye, has been applied.

nagabakama - pigment - Daily Japanese Textile IMG_1779

Below, a kabuki actor in the role of a samurai in billowing nagabakama that trail behind him. For an earlier posting on koyori kamishimo, click here.