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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

1800-1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a summer kimono, or katabira, the cool linen-like cloth being highly suitable for Japan's humid weather. The iris and bridge motif relates to a famous passage in the 10th century Tales of Ise, one of the most famous works of classical Japanese literature. In the ninth chapter the hero Ariwara no Narihira comes to a place in Mikawa province noted for its eightfold bridge and irises and composes a poem using the syllables of kakitsubata, the Japanese word for iris, as the first syllable of each of the lines. The crests, or mon, across the shoulders are those of the Tokugawa, the military family who ruled Japan in the Edo period (1615-1868).


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Ramie, resist-dyed and embroidered
Brief Description
Summer kimono (katabira), plain weave ramie with freehand paste-resist dyeing (yūzen), stencil imitation tie-dyeing (surihitta) and embroidery in silk and gold-wrapped silk threads, probably Kyoto, 1800-50
Physical Description
Woman's summer kimono (katabira) of ramie with a design of irises by a bridge; created with resist-dyeing and embroidery in orange, purple and green silks in satin, stitch and couched gold thread. Five crests (on centre back, back sleeves and front shoulders) of the Tokugawa family
Dimensions
  • Repeat length: 18cm
  • Repeat width: 9in
  • Repeat length: 46cm
  • Repeat width: 22.8cm
  • Collar to hem length: 62.5in
  • Collar to hem length: 158cm
  • Including sleeves width: 66in
  • Including sleeves width: 167.5cm
  • Under arms width: 30in
  • Under arms width: 76.2cm
  • Silk width: 18.5in
  • Silk width: 47cm
Gallery Label
  • Kimono with patterns below the waist would have been worn by samurai women on less important ceremonial days. This is an unlined summer kimono made of ramie, a linen-like fabric well-suited to Japan's humid climate. The design alludes to a famous episode in the 10th-century Tales of Ise. The kimono bears the crests (mon) of the ruling Tokugawa family. (29/02/2020)
  • Summer kimono for a woman (katabira) 1800–40 Kimono designs, particularly those on garments for women of the samurai elite, often alluded to well-known literary sources. The irises, bridge, black court hat and fan on this summer garment relate to a passage in the 10th-century Tales of Ise. The Tokugawa crests (mon) across the shoulders indicate that the kimono belonged to a woman from Japan’s ruling family. Probably Kyoto Ramie with freehand paste-resist dyeing (yūzen) and stencilled imitation tie-dyeing (suri-hitta); embroidery in silk and metal-wrapped threads Given by Miss G. Saumarez Museum no. T.87-1968 (04/11/2015)
Credit line
Given by Miss G. Saumarez
Subjects depicted
Literary ReferenceThe Tales of Ise
Summary
This is a summer kimono, or katabira, the cool linen-like cloth being highly suitable for Japan's humid weather. The iris and bridge motif relates to a famous passage in the 10th century Tales of Ise, one of the most famous works of classical Japanese literature. In the ninth chapter the hero Ariwara no Narihira comes to a place in Mikawa province noted for its eightfold bridge and irises and composes a poem using the syllables of kakitsubata, the Japanese word for iris, as the first syllable of each of the lines. The crests, or mon, across the shoulders are those of the Tokugawa, the military family who ruled Japan in the Edo period (1615-1868).
Bibliographic Reference
Jackson, Anna (editor), Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, London: V&A Publishing, 2020
Collection
Accession Number
T.87-1968

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record createdFebruary 25, 2004
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