A Narumi Kongata Han Juban: Stenciled Faux Shibori
late nineteenth century
24" x 46", 61 cm x 117 cm
This old han juban, or half-length under-kimono, is a real beauty.
Its bodice is made from a wonderful kind of complex stencil resist dyed cotton called Narumi kongata. Because this technique was meant to mimic the texture and subtleties of shibori dyeing, the dyeing process required many, many stencils to create the soft effects that are natural to shibori and completely against the nature of hard-edged katazome or stencil resist dyeing.
The pattern could be mistaken for shibori because it is so well done: the ground is mottled in a way that calls to mind miura shibori; the stylized flowers are both meant to be nui or stitched shibori as well as tie-dyed. Poring over the many detail photos here you can see that the mimicry was achieved: this is a very good example of katazome masquerading as shibori.
Running under the collar section and mostly obscured by it, is another pattern of Narumi kongata, equally deft as the base cloth but showing a tighter, geometric pattern.
The sleeves are silk and the dull purple pieces of silk cloth on the tips of the sleeves are stitched using hemp thread.
A marvelous garment with good age, this piece should be considered by anyone interested in good quality Japanese folk garment.