A Length of Meisen Silk: Feathers or Flowers
mid twentieth century
60" x 13 3/4", 152.5 cm x 35 cm
This is a length of meisen silk, a kind of "everyday" silk that was developed in the Meiji era (1868 - 1912) at a time when Japan's strict sumptuary laws were lifted: these laws dictated what people were allowed to wear and consume (among many other things), notable among the strictures was a ban against common people wearing silk.
Meisen represents the democratization of silk in a changing Japan and it was consumed readily. Its boom market prompted huge manufacture, which, of course, meant that countless new designs needed to be developed.
This pattern seems to be a kind of floral pattern or perhaps abstracted feathers.
Meisen is a kind of machine aided kasuri cloth, the quality of silk being pedestrian as these were kimono that were not expensive and were meant to be worn on a regular basis as "town wear."
This panel is from such a kimono and it shows ingrained creases difficult to see and shown on the accompanying detail photographs.
A marvelous length of beautifully figured meisen silk in a classic, "jazzy" pattern.