A Set of Three Semamori Stitches #2: Protective Amulets
ca. early to mid twentieth century
small: 3 3/4" x 3 3/4", 9.5 cm x 9.5 cm
large: 5 7/8" x 3 7/8", 15 cm x 9.5 cm
Shown here are three paper cards onto each is stitched a single, decorative design called semamori. These cards were used to practice and to catalog semamori designs.
Although decorative, semamori serve a much more intrinsic function when stitched onto a kimono, usually a child's. Semamori is stitched as a wish for protection for the person wearing the kimono; it is an amulet to ward off malice.
Often semamori can be a simplified stitch to the back of a child's kimono or it could be elaborately done as we see on each of the cards. Often the semamori as shown here are used to stitch the tie to the child's kimono, or can be seen on the back, below the nape.
In this case we see pictorial semamori, each one beautifully realized. The large card shows a lattice and morning glory image, the centrally placed card shows a duck or goose, and the card on the farthest left of the group photo seems to be stylized plum blossom and pine needles.Really lovely.