The motif of carp and swirling water that decorates this kimono is an auspicious one. It derives from a Chinese legend in which any fish able to leap the waterfall is transformed into a dragon, the story being a metaphor for achievement and advancement in life. The design is executed with long supplementary wefts, a weaving technique that is unusual in kimono fabric. According to the person who gave this kimono to the V&A, it once belonged to the famous kabuki theatre actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX and may have been worn for performance.


  • Title: Kimono
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1860/1880
  • Location: Japan
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 142.5 cm, Width: 134 cm
  • Provenance: Given by T. B. Clark-Thornhill
  • Medium: Silk crêpe (chirimen), lined with silk

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