An Elegant and Beautiful 19th Century Samurai Dochugi: Traveling Coat
ca. mid nineteenth century
32" x 50", 81 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 samurai class. 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 himo or braided ties are all intact as are the horn fixtures used as clasps. The color is fine, there are just a few, faint stains (see accompanying photographs) and very slight and unnoticeable mending. The collar area shows just a bit of loss and wear.
Quite curious are the two, vertical slits on the proper front, left and the proper back, left. As this was once owned by a samurai, it is through these slits that he placed his swords, and this detail to this wonderful dochugi makes it a more interesting garment than it already is.
A really fine and really lovely old garment--and wearable.
Beautiful and very recommended.