A 19th Century Dochugi: Large Traveling Coat
ca. mid nineteenth century
33" x 50", 84 cm x 127 cm
This beautifully tailored, traditionally styled overcoat for Japan's elite class is hand woven from what is said to be a combination of kudzu fiber and cotton.
It is not uncommon for these traveling coats to be woven from kudzu or kuzu as this was a fiber often worn by the upper classes in Japan. Kuzufu is a luxury cloth: it is beautifully glossy, takes dye well, keeps a fine crease, is lightweight, breathes well in summer, dries quickly after rain, and, ultimately, is a very elegant cloth.
This one is in very good condition and its cloth feels more like cotton than the bast fiber kuzufu or kudzu cloth: the hand braided himo or braided ties are all intact as are the fixtures and clasps. Please note that the primary clasp, shown near the neck on the proper left of the garment, is loosely attached to the base cloth and can easily be mended to render it secure.
The color is fine; it is a warm, medium-toned, indigo dyed blue. The collar area shows distinct areas loss and wear.
Quite curious is the vertical slit on the proper back, left side of the coat. It could have been placed there in order to easily carry a sword when traveling.
A really fine and really lovely old garment--and wearable.
Beautiful and very recommended.