This silk kimono showcases stunning shibori-dyed motifs of mandarin oranges and plum blossoms, enhanced by vertical silver foil thread inserts. Measuring 51 inches (130 cm) from sleeve-end to sleeve-end and 60 inches (152 cm) in height, this kimono presents intricate shibori techniques in its design.
The shibori tie-dyeing method used here comes in two variations: the yellow mandarin orange motifs were created by tying relatively large areas of cloth, while the white/lavender mandarin orange and plum blossom motifs were made through aggregates of tiny ties. Plum (ume) blossoms hold a significant place in Japanese poetry, symbolizing the arrival of spring. Additionally, Japanese tradition considers the ume as a protective charm against evil, often planted in the northeast of a garden to ward off malevolent forces believed to approach from that direction.
The central motif, the mandarin orange (tachibana), symbolizes longevity and luck. During the relocation of Japan's capital from Nara to Kyoto in 794 by Emperor Kanmu, a plum tree was planted on the left and a tachibana on the right in front of the Imperial Palace, signifying their significance.
This kimono exemplifies the Taisho-period artists' penchant for reimagining traditional motifs in innovative ways, showcasing the mastery of shibori techniques and the rich symbolism of mandarin oranges and plum blossoms within its design.