Outer Robe ([Uchikake]) with Pines, Bamboo, Plums, Sandbank-Shaped Tables, and Myriad Treasures

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Outer Robe ([Uchikake]) with Pines, Bamboo, Plums, Sandbank-Shaped Tables, and Myriad Treasures

Textiles / Edo

Edo period, 19th century

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Uchikake are kimono worn on formal occasions. They are still worn by brides today at wedding ceremonies. This gorgeous example features gold and silk threads embroidered over glossy white figured satin. It was probably used as a bridal costume by a woman from the warrior class.
Waves are depicted in gold and vermillion around the hem. The wavy cloudlike object above the waves is actually a sandbar-shaped table. Decorations are placed on tables like this at weddings or other celebrations. The small rocky mountain above the table is perhaps an allusion to the legendary Chinese mountain Penglai. Two slim bamboos rise up straight from the mountain. The pair may be a symbol of the married couple. Maple tree branches also curve sinuously up the surface. As the eye follows the branches, it alights upon some blooming plum blossoms. Plum blossoms also bloom on the orange tree branches lower down, making this a fantastical, celebratory scene. With a collection of treasures also displayed on the sandbar-shaped table, this lavish garment overflows with auspicious motifs.

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