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Kimono fabric

Kimono fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1860-1867 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk crepe, with resist-dyed decoration

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 3

Object Type
In Japan, where this length of silk crepe was made, the material would have been used to make a kimono. It contains enough cloth to make one garment. Both sexes wore kimono, but the design of this particular length of fabric suggests that it would have been used for a woman's clothing.

Materials & Making
The pattern of bamboo and flowering trees was created using a resist-dyeing technique. Rice paste was applied to certain parts of the cloth to form a protective coating that prevented penetration of the dye. Once the dye was dry the paste was washed away. Different areas were protected at various stages of the patterning process.

Japanese objects were imported into Britain in large numbers in the second half of the 19th century. Japanese dyed textiles were very different from those made in Britain. The bold design and bright colours of this length of cloth would have been highly appealing. Fabrics like this would have been used to make exotic garments or used for interior decoration.

Historical Associations
Japan was keen to show off its textile skills at the big exhibitions that took place in Europe in the 19th century. This length was shown at the Paris International Exhibition of 1867 where it was bought by the Museum.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1860-1867 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Silk crepe, with resist-dyed decoration


Length: 1800 cm, Width: 47 cm

Descriptive line

Silk crepe - red bamboo design, Japan, 1860-1867

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The display organised by the Japanese at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 was a great success. Crowds flocked to see it. These are some of the many items acquired by the Museum. They are typical of the kind of objects made in Japan to meet the growing European demand. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted



Textiles; Clothing


East Asia Collection

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