A Length of Meisen Silk: Multi-Colored Bubbles
mid twentieth century
54" x 14", 137 cm x 35.5 cm
This is a length of lightweight 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.
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 a fanciful pattern--floating dots with geometric decoration on a purple/blue ground-- that most certainly shows the influence of mid-20th century design. Some ingrained creases from wear as well.
A marvelous length of beautifully figured meisen silk in a classic, "jazzy" pattern.