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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Kimono

1800-1840 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The long 'swinging sleeves' (furisode) of this kimono indicate that it would have been worn by a young woman. Red was a popular choice for young women’s kimono because the colour symbolised youth and glamour. The dye, known as beni, was produced from safflowers and was very expensive. The whole garment is decorated using a tie-dyeing technique known as shibori, which was also very costly. The woman who wore this kimono must have come from a very wealthy family. The auspicious design of pine, bamboo and plum on the hem and sleeve ends suggests she wore it for a special occasion. The garment has been shortened at the waist, indicating that it was designed, or later adapted, to be an under-kimono.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Figured satin weave silk (rinzu), with tie-dyeing (shibori)
Brief Description
Kimono, figured satin silk (rinzu) with tie-dyed (shibori) decoration of hemp leaves and roundels of pine, bamboo and plum; Japan, 1800-40
Physical Description
Kimono for a young woman (furisode)of figured satin silk (rinzu). The rinzu has a self-pattern of small diapers and flowers. An overall pattern of hemp leaf with roundels of pine, bamboo and plum has been created using the kanoko shibori (tie-dye) technique. The red dye derives from beni-bana (safflower). The garment has been shortened at the waist for wearing as an under-kimono. It is lined with scarlet crêpe and it has a small wadded hem.
Dimensions
  • Down back centre seam, including collar length: 132cm
  • From wrist to wrist width: 123cm
Style
Gallery Label
  • Red kimono with tie-dyed hemp-leaf designs were associated with courtesans. However, this one may have been worn by a young woman from a merchant family. Perhaps she wanted to emulate the fashions of the pleasure district. At some point the garment has been shortened at the waist. This may have been in response to sumptuary laws that restricted the use of the expensive dye and patterning technique. (29/02/2020)
  • Kimono for a young woman (furisode) 1800-40 The long ‘swinging sleeves’ (furisode) of this kimono indicate that it was worn by a young woman. She was probably the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Red, symbolising youth and glamour, was an expensive dye, while the tie-dyeing (shibori) technique used to create the pattern was highly labour-intensive. This would have been a very extravagant garment. [56] Probably Kyoto Figured satin silk with tie-dyeing (shibori) Museum no. FE.32-1982 (04/11/2015)
Object history
Purchased. Registered File number 1982/1022.
Historical context
For a similar furisode see one depicted in "Heads of Nine Beauties in a Roundel with Plum Blossom" by Hosoda Eishi (1756-1829) in the catalogue to the Royal Academy of Art's The Great Japan Exhibition: Art of the Edo Period 1600-1868, published in association with Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1981. NAL Bibliographic No.: 11.L.35.

The painting is number 64A, and see also number 365 for another allover tie-dyed furisode - this garment has the background completely tie-dyed, the pictorial design being picked out by the coloured dye. The V&A's example has the design executed in tie-dye while the background has taken up the colour.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The long 'swinging sleeves' (furisode) of this kimono indicate that it would have been worn by a young woman. Red was a popular choice for young women’s kimono because the colour symbolised youth and glamour. The dye, known as beni, was produced from safflowers and was very expensive. The whole garment is decorated using a tie-dyeing technique known as shibori, which was also very costly. The woman who wore this kimono must have come from a very wealthy family. The auspicious design of pine, bamboo and plum on the hem and sleeve ends suggests she wore it for a special occasion. The garment has been shortened at the waist, indicating that it was designed, or later adapted, to be an under-kimono.
Bibliographic References
  • Earle, J. (editor), Japanese Art & Design: The Toshiba Gallery Guide, London: V&A Publications, 1986, page 89.
  • Jackson, Anna, Japanese Textiles in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 200, plate 67
  • Wilson, Verity, 'Japanese Silk Textiles in the Toshiba Gallery, V&A', in ORIENTATIONS Vol .17 no. 12, December 1986 ('The Toshiba Gallery' edition)
  • Jackson, Anna (editor), Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, London: V&A Publications, 2020
  • Rout, Josephine, Japanese Dress in Detail, London: Thames & Hudson, 2020
Collection
Accession Number
FE.32-1982

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record createdJanuary 7, 2000
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