Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Snowflake and kerria design on parti-colored figured twill ground

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Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Snowflake and kerria design on parti-colored figured twill ground

Textiles / Edo

Edo period, 18th century

1領

Kosode are predecessors of the modern-day Japanese kimono. The name kosode derives from the small wrist openings of the garments. This kosode features a bold design of rounded snowflakes on a shiny white silk ground that has been decorated with Buddhist crosses woven diagonally. The snowflakes are characterized by soft, fluffy outlines and evenly-spaced indentations. The snowflake edges serve to demarcate the garment into light blue, white and pale yellow sections.

Other motifs include kerria roses blowing in the wind. These are rendered using yuzen-zome, a dyeing technique used to create picturesque motifs. The technique involves drawing thin outlines with a dye-blocking paste, with color then applied within using a brush. Color gradations are also added to the petals to produce a richly-colored finish. The kerria roses also feature embroidery and suribitta, a technique that involves rubbing stencil-dyed patterns onto cloth. Kerrias produce yellow flowers as spring shifts to autumn, but these kerrias feature a riot of colors, including red, purple and gold. As this shows, various techniques have been employed to lend a colorful appearance to these simple motifs.

This kosode features a lot of vermillion. Garments like this are known as “with red,” and they are usually worn by young women. The gorgeous, elegant arrangement of designs across the whole garment is a representative feature of kosode from the Genroku era, which lasted from 1688 to 1704.

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