A Length of Edo Komon Cloth: Large Butterfly Family Crest

$80.00 USD

mid nineteenth century
39" x 13 3/4", 99 cm x 35 cm

This is a length of the marvelous, nineteenth century katazome dyed cotton cloth known as Edo komon, or what can be translated as Edo era all-over patterned cloth.

Edo komon, is a small figured, all-over patterned cloth that was popular in the late Edo period (1603-1868).  

During this time period the central government enforced laws on the population which regulated almost all aspects of life, dress included.  

Most people in Edo era Japan were told by the government to dress in subtle, dark colors and small patterns; because of this, elaborate, very small patterned cloth was developed and then became popular, the reason being was that one could still wear figured clothing while not breaking any of the sumptuary laws that were laid down. 

Countless tiny-figured designs were developed during this period and for this reason we know that the cloth which was used to create this garment dates to the 19th century.  

The cloth might be a mix of cotton and silk.

A highlight to this length is the marvelously rendered and large butterfly--a family crest--that appears about 1/3 up from the bottom of the length.

This panel was the sleeve of a kimono which is why the crest is positioned as it is.

The relatively large size of the crest also tells us this is from the Edo period because in the later era, the Meiji, the size of family crests were made smaller for the purposes of discretion or not to be ostentatious.

A beauty in good condition.