[Kosode] (Garment with small wrist openings) Camellia, weeping willow, and hanging scroll design on brown plain-weave silk ground
Kosode are predecessors of modern-day Japanese kimono. The name kosode derives from the small wrist openings of the garments. Camellia blooms and hanging scrolls are rendered here using a traditional Japanese starch paste-resist dyeing method called yuzen-zome. This technique allows for patterns to be laid out freely in a picturesque manner. Take a closer look at the thin, white contour lines. Paste has been applied to these sections to ensure the ground beneath remains undyed. The designs have been carefully colored by brush to prevent overspills beyond these paste lines. This was an extremely meticulous process. The delicate, slender branches of the weeping willow borrow the color of the undyed silk ground. This effect is known as shiroage. The paste is squeezed on to the surface using a small tube, so a high level of skill is needed to ensure the lines are rendered exactly as planned. The finely-demarcated color sections contrast wonderfully with the undyed shiroage parts.
There are also smaller pictures on the garment's hanging scroll motifs. These have been drawn directly onto the surface using black ink. This design actually appeared in the Edo-period fashion book Kosode Moyo Hinagata, or 'Pattern Sample Book for Short Sleeved Kimono.' The color scheme in the book is more restrained, though, with the book stipulating the use of brown mounted hanging scroll designs on a white ground. The wearer must have selected this design from the book and asked for the colors to be made more flamboyant, which suggests she enjoyed dressing up and looking fashionable.