Woman's wedding kimono with "three friends of winter" design

unknown1700 - 1750

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

The kimono is the traditional Japanese garment for both males and females. The original form of today’s kimono, “kosode”, or short-sleeve, dates to the thirteenth to fourteenth century AD. The forms of kimono have greatly changed throughout its long history. During the Edo period (AD 1603-1867), the sleeves of the women’s kimono became longer, and at times the bottom edge of the sleeves almost reached the ground. The longer sleeves were a reaction against the frequent bans of luxuries issued by the feudal government. The patterns and colours of kimonos were restrained; the only exception was the wedding kimonos. They were lavishly patterned and decorated, like this one, with varied techniques of weaving, dyeing, and embroidery. The pine, bamboo, and prunus are a favourite set of motifs for wedding kimonos. Known as the “three friends of winter”, they represent longevity and happiness. This kimono was probably worn as an outer garment, as its hem is heavily padded. It is made from a flower-patterned damask of vivid vermilion and richly decorated with resist-dyeing and gold-thread embroidery. The resist-dyeing method is called “shibori”, in which pattern areas are reserved through use of pleating, compressing, or stitching. The most elaborate type of “shibori” technique creates patterns with units of tiny dots, as seen in this kimono, and requires great skill and patience from the workmen.

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  • Title: Woman's wedding kimono with "three friends of winter" design
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: 1700 - 1750
  • Location: Japan
  • Type: robe
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: Silk rinsu damask with shibori resist-dyeing, embroidery, and padded with cotton wadding
  • Time period: Edo period
  • Length: 182.5
  • Accession Number: 949.49

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