A Sample Book of 19th Century Patterns: Edo Komon

$295.00 USD

mid to late 19th century
when closed: 12" x 9 1/2", 30.5 cm x 24 cm

This is a dyer's or a kimono broker's book of dyed, small figure patterns of a type called Edo komon.

The book is comprised of seven pages and shows 74 different Edo komon patterns, each swatch being chirimen or crepe silk.

In pre-Meiji Japan (before 1868) the Japanese government issued laws concerning consumerism which dictated all manner of regulations including what type of clothing could be worn and by whom. Different rules applied to different classes of people.

Most people were confined to wearing subtle, darker shades of color and were not allowed to wear flashy, large prints.

Those of means got around these restrictions by wearing wildly intricately, almost microscopic all over patterned, small figured cloth which, ironically, might have been equally expensive to buy as more obviously luxurious cloth but the small figured cloth fit within the guidelines of the sumptuary law.

This beautifully produced book shows a good selection of these small figured patterns that were popular in the late Edo period and it is a treasure trove of design ideas which connects us directly to the creative mind of old Japan.

Some damage and wear.