Antique Japanese Silk Kimono

Japanese Antique Silk Shibori Full Length Kimono | Shippo (Seven Treasures)

Age:1912-1926 (Taisho Period)

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 62-0”l x 46-1/2”w, (22-1/2”shldr. to shldr.); 20-1/4”l sleeves

Overview: Today, Kimono in both Japan and around the world is in the category nostalgic and involves a wistful memory of times when feeling that involve tradition and evoke the love for long-gone moments. So today the value of garments is more emotional based and has more to do with a focused and time-consuming handcraft that required great skill. According to all the major sources, Taisho period styles were rarely abandoned in Japan.

The Kimono being offered and shown is a beautiful and elegant garment with an overall pattern known as “overlapping circles” that was introduced in the 18th Century. The circles overlapping in quarters resemble petals and each center forms what is known as a shining star. This pattern is regarded as auspicious for the prosperity of descendants, good relationships, and for bringing harmony.

The fabric represents a popular form of textile art in Japan called Shibori, (intricate tie-dye). The fabric used in this garment is a silk “hitokoshi” crepe (flat-woven of crepe-spun thread, not nubby or overtly textured, but not shiny-smooth either). As a crepe fabric, the Kimono has a great drape and wonderful to the touch. This silk hand-constructed and hand tie-dyed work is only found on a more expensive Kimono. The pattern is created by minutely binding the fabric and masking off areas, then dying it. When the bindings are removed, the intricate pattern is revealed. The feeling of age results from the Kimono color, which is a muted Taupe, (Tōpu), that seems light charcoal brown in different natural and artificial lighting. The fabric encompasses subtle manipulations by the dyer, adding a tint or shade in small degrees from light and dark, creating a dyed garment that is not dull or uninteresting particularly when coordinated with a vibrant obi. The piece is fully lined in a cream and violet, (Baioretto), colored silk.

Antique Condition: The piece is in Excellent condition and as originally made. Having considerable age, the garment is completely sound, wearable, unfaded, and unsoiled. An elaborate and entirely Shibori kimono, as the one shown, can take a whole year to make, and the original cost was therefore exorbitant to create, and greatly revered by a textile collector. 

NOTE: Base fabrics of this type have thousands of tie-dyed dots form the background for the overlapping circles and similar motifs. The relief of such an all-over Shibori Kimono with decorations in the reverse image gives these textiles a characteristic texture. The surface of the textile becomes much smaller because of the numerous raised tufts of silk. Since the beginning of the Tokugawa period, the village of Arimatsu of the Takaido road between Osaka and Edo has been the center of Shibori production.