A Yose Han Juban: Stitched, Pieced Half-Underkimono
late nineteenth, early twentieth century
23 1/4" x 21", 59 cm x 53.25 cm
This brightly colored vest is a han juban or a half under kimono: in old Japan women's undergarments were often pieced from recycled, boldly colored cloth as a foil to the somber tones of the kimono which was draped over this short undergarment.
This particular one is made of a hodgepodge of fabrics: inside and out it is pieced together from recycled fragments of cotton, silk and a very lightweight wool called mousseline. By looking carefully at the attached photographs you can see that there is loss to some of the fabric pieces and this loss is fairly consistent over the entirety of the garment, mainly on the outside.
What can also be seen on the checkerboard area on front and back is that each piece of cloth that composes this field of colored squares is backed with washi or Japanese paper--quilters know this technique quite well.
The lining is mainly cottons and the color contrast between the subtle tones of the interior and the saturated tones of the exterior is lovely to see.
There is some evidence that this garment once had sleeves which have been lost to time.
A super lovely pieced garment from old Japan.