A Yuzen Dyed, Embroidered and Gold Couched Fragment: Late 18th Century

$325.00 USD

late 18th century
14" x 13", 35.5 cm x 33 cm

This is a treasure, something of an indication of the kind of masterful weaving, dyeing and needlework that was done centuries ago in Japan and is now lost to time.

This is a sleeve fragment from a kosode or a kind of hyper-elegant "small sleeved" garment worn by women in the upper echelon of Japanese society. Kosode are distinctive in their decoration and usually had a kind of distinguishing "look" about them: this fragment beautifully captions the decorative and integral essence of a kosode.

It is woven from the finest asa or bast fiber, more than likely Echigo jofu, which is super fine, snow bleached ramie cloth which is one of the glories of the Japanese loom. Once this superior cloth was woven in Niigata prefecture it was most likely sent to Kyoto where the decoration was applied.

Yuzen dyeing produced the beautifully applied Chinese bellflowers and languid stream that graces the design. Expert silk embroidery augmented this scene and we see the colors of nature in the dye of the silk.

Purple is gromwell root, orange is safflower, green is over dyed indigo. 

The gold couching which was relegated to define the softly lapping surf is unbroken and beautifully done.

A similar type of fancy silk embroidery created a artfully twisting, orange-colored rope that creates a visual anchor for the design.

The cloth of this fragment is still flawlessly white, the embroidery all unbroken: rather astonishing considering the age of this piece. There is one ingrained crease that runs from side to side above the expertly-done design.

This is a spectacularly beautiful fragment of a super luxurious cloth from what had to have been a remarkably fine kimono from the late 18th century.



A Yuzen Dyed, Embroidered and Gold Couched Fragment: Late 18th Century