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Fireman's hood

Fireman's hood

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    late 19th century - early 20th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Quilted cotton with freehand resist-dyed decoration

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This hood, along with its matching jacket, would have been worn by a fireman in late nineteenth century Japan. It is made from several layers of thick cotton quilted together together using a technique called 'sashiko'. Before tackling a blaze the fireman would have been drenched in water to protect him from the flames, the layers of cloth allowing for maximum absorption. The hood has long flaps to cover the back of the neck and the crown is heavily padded to protect the fireman from falling debris.

Physical description

This fireman's hood is of indigo blue cotton quilted through several layers. Additionally, the crown of the hood is heavily padded. The same cloud resist painted design as the firemans's jacket (FE.107-1982) appears on the inside and the tie-ups bear a small-scale horizontal and vertical band motif like the lower coat section.
The hood consists of two sections of material seamed over the top of the crown. The rear part of the crown is extended down to form a flap for protecting the back of the neck. The front crown also extends down to form two flaps which protect the face and fasten together just below eye level with a button and button hole. There are two tapering cotton ties, 8cm wide at their widest point, attached to the main part of the hood at ear level. These ties are not quilted. A twisted thread loop is sewn to the top of the crown.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


late 19th century - early 20th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Quilted cotton with freehand resist-dyed decoration


Height: 4 in, Width: 4 in

Object history note

Purchased with FE.107-1982. Registered File number 1982/1839.

Historical context note

In the course of fighting a fire, the fireman who wore the hood reproduced here would have belted the coat (see FE.107-1982) and closed his hood flaps. He would then have been hosed down with water to protect him from the flames.

Descriptive line

Fireman's hood, quilted cotton with resist dyed decoration, Japan, late 19th - early 20th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Verity Wilson, 'Country textiles from Japan and the Ryukyu Islands in the Victoria and Albert Museum', Orientations, July 1983, page 28, figs 1 & 2
Earle, J. (editor), Japanese Art and Design: The Toshiba Gallery Guide, London: V&A Publications, 1986, page 175
Bicknell, Julian, Hiroshige in Tokyo: The Floating World of Edo, San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994, page 45
Jackson, Anna, Japanese Country Textiles, London: V&A Publications, 1997, page 62, fig. 39


Cotton; Indigo


Resist dyeing; Quilting

Subjects depicted



Textiles; Men's clothes; Accessories


East Asia Collection

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