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  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1780-1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Figured satin silk (rinzu), with embroidery, brushed black ink and stencilled imitation tie-dye(kata kanoko)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case 9

This kimono has been decorated using ink, embroidery and a stencil-dyeing technique called kata kanoko. Nature provides the main source for the motifs used in Japanese art and bamboo, which features here, is an especially popular subject. Across the shoulders of the kimono are various characters taken from the 'Poems of Congratulation' in the 10th-century Kokinshu anthology. Incorporating the written word into the design of the kimono would have demonstrated the literary discernment of the wearer.

Physical description

Kosode (kimono with small sleeve openings) of white figured satin (rinzu) of 1/4 weft-faced figure of key fret, and flowers on 4/1 warp-faced ground.
The all-over vertical design is of bamboo and across the shoulders back and front are characters. These come from a number of different poems in the 'Poems of Congratulation' section of the Kokinshu anthology (compiled about 905 AD) and include wishes for long life, and making reference to the auspicious crane and turtle.
Both the bamboo and the characters are depicted in orange-red green and gold embroidery, black pigment, and in red-brown stencilling, used to imitate tie-dye (kata kanoko).
The garment is lined with scarlet plain weave this silk and there is a small wadded hem.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1780-1820 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Figured satin silk (rinzu), with embroidery, brushed black ink and stencilled imitation tie-dye(kata kanoko)

Marks and inscriptions

Inscriptions come from the 'Poems of Congratulation' section of the 10th century anthology Kokinshu.


Length: 180 cm, Width: 130 cm

Object history note

Purchased. Registered File number 1982/1022.

Descriptive line

Kimono, white silk satin with embroidered and stencilled decoration of bamboo and characters, Japan, Edo period, 1780-1820

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

Jackson, Anna, Japanese Textiles in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 2000, plate 72
Earle, J. (editor), Japanese Art and Design: The Toshiba Gallery Guide, London: V&A Publications, 1986, page 87
Bicknell, Julian, Hiroshige in Tokyo: The Floating World of Edo, San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994, page 12
Wilson, Verity, 'Japanese Silk Textiles in the Toshiba Gallery, V&A' in ORIENTATIONS,/u> vol.17, no.12; December 1986 ('The Toshiba Gallery' edition)


Silk (textile); Silk thread; Metal thread


Satin weave; Plain weave; Embroidering; Resist-dyeing; Stencilling

Subjects depicted



Clothing; Textiles; Embroidery


East Asia Collection

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