An Elaborately Decorated Fragment from an 18th Century Kosode: Extra Fine Hemp

$165.00 USD

late 18th century
18 1/2" x 6", 47 cm x 15 cm

This is a small 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 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 Nara sarashi, which is super fine, hemp cloth which is one of the glories of the Japanese loom. The cloth was produced in Nara and after it was woven in Nara prefecture it was most likely sent to Kyoto where the dyed and stitched decoration was applied.

Yuzen dyeing produced the beautifully resisted cherry blossoms and the abstracted indication of a languid stream that graces the design. Expert silk embroidery and gold couching augmented this scene and we see the colors of nature in the dye of the silk.

The background is dyed in a beautifully delicate shade of indigo, this particular tone--being faint in color--was difficult to achieve.

The gold couching, which was relegated to define the outline of the faux shibori dyed cherry blossoms, is beautifully done.

The cloth of this fragment is in very good condition the embroidery all unbroken: rather astonishing considering the age of this piece. 

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.


An Elaborately Decorated Fragment from an 18th Century Kosode: Extra Fine Hemp