This silk miyamairi kimono, used for the christening of a baby boy in a Shinto ceremony, features various yuzen-dyed 'karako' figures. Measuring 32 inches (81 cm) from sleeve-end to sleeve-end and standing at 37 inches (94 cm) in height.
The term 'karako' in Japanese art typically refers to small Chinese children. They are usually portrayed without specific gender references, often appearing as boys in traditional Chinese clothing with two small tufts of hair on their otherwise bare heads. 'Karako' symbolizes the wish for a male successor who attains high social status and represents luck, happiness, and prosperity. In Japanese mythology, 'karako' embody the innocence and wisdom found in both infants and the elderly, signifying the transitional phases at the start and end of life.
The artist behind this Shinto ceremonial garment diverged from the norm by adorning both the front and back of the textile with a larger amount of 'karako' iconography. This departure from tradition is notable, as most similar garments typically feature the main iconography solely on the center backside. The detail images beneath the main gallery image illustrate the breadth of the artist's 'karako' imagery.