A combination of techniques using resist paste to define different-colored pattern areas, to create fine white outlines, and to protect pattern areas from the background color, which is usually applied by brush (hikizome). In the late 17th century, a Kyoto fan painter by the name of Miyazaki Yuzen took Japan by storm with his novel designs and sophisticated dyeing technique, transforming the world of Edo period fashion. In a stroke this new technique, which was named Yuzen dyeing after its inventor, swept aside the design limitations of the hitherto mainstream decorative methods of shishu (embroidery) and shiborizome (tie-dyeing). During the 20th century a new method was developed using raw rubber instead of rice paste. This and the use of wax resist have further expanded the artistic possibilities of Yuzen dyeing. To create a yuzen-dyed garment, the fabric is subjected to the following fifteen processes:1) the fabric is washed.2) the fabric is steamed to smooth it and to make it a uniform width.3) the fabric widths are loosely sewn together so that the pattern can be adjusted to the seam allowances, after which the stitching is taken out.4) the outlines of the patterning are painted on the fabric with a blue extract of aobana, that will disappear when the fabric is washed.5) The outlines of the patterning are covered with a rice paste resist. When the paste is applied in very fine lines that become part of the patterning, the yuzen is called itome yuzen.6) The fabric is brushed with a fine soybean extract made by dissolving a ground soybean mash in water. It prevents the dyes from running and is essential for the setting of the dyes in step 8.7) The motifs in the patterned areas outlined by the resist paste in step 5 are painted with dyes.8) The fabric is steamed to set the dyes.9) The patterned areas are covered with a thick layer of rice paste.10) The entire fabric is brushed with the white soybean extract to assure an evenly colored background.11) The dye for the background is brushed over the entire surface of the fabric.12) The fabric is steamed to set the background dye.13) All the paste and excess dye is washed out of the fabric.14) The fabric is steamed to smooth it and make it a uniform width.15) The fabric is sewn into a garment.
originally the customs and ceremonies of the Imperial court; by extension, traditions of the Heian period, which reflects court taste; many motifs are of foreign origin [AoJ,v.1,pg.123]
�snow flake and circle� pattern.
very casual, unlined kosode; typically made of cotton or other vegetable fiber; usually dyed with indigo utilizing the katazome technique; traditionally worn after a bath; nowadays, more commonly worn at festivals and at traditional Japanese inns.
Kimonos for about 4-13 year-old kids.
oversized, padded kimono-form comforter; developed for cold weather sleeping; often elaborately decorated in tsutsugaki technique when it formed part of a brides trousseau [trad.]
lit. "Western Clothing"; in contra-distinction to wafuku; coined in Meiji era to differentiate clothing [i.e. "kimono"] into native versus foreign dress [K:FC,pg.10]
): a planked foot-bridge motif; often laid among iris marshes; popularized by Ogata Korin, a leading Rimpa School artist of the Genroku Era [AoJ, v.1,pg.108]
horizontal border with abstracted representation of mountains; either plain zig-zag line or with crenellated points added on top [trad.]
repeated kasuri pattern resembling arrow (ya) fletching; usually created by staggering warp threads that have been resist dyed to produce trapezoidal forms [trad.]
Heian-style paper collage technique frequently used to decorate paper for transcribing poems; sometimes used as a textile motif [AoJ,v.1,pg.58,139]
: "good taste" as defined by samurai class as opposed to court styles (see goshuden); later interpreted to mean "old hat", "out-of-date" when applied by the chonin class to samurai styles; now used to define trite taste (especially in personal dress); juxtaposed to iki [JCaTA,pg.87-89,90]
A variation of hiranui (satin stitch). The bilaterally symmetrical motif is divided into two areas by its axis and embroidered from its outlines towards the axis. It produces a V-shape and is suitable for such motifs as leaves and feathers.
fern leaf pattern [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
: literally "Japanese dress"; in contra-distinction to yofuku; word coined in Meiji era to distinguish it from non-traditonal [i.e. Western] dress; [K:FC,pg.10]
geometric pattern used on yusoku textiles; see shippo tsunagi
reptile (fish or snake) scale motif consisting of equilateral triangles arranged in parallel rows and ranks; usually single color constrasts with fabric ground [trad.]
cloud-shaped bronze gong; first introduced with Zen Buddhism in Kamakura period; forms part of monastic paraphenalia [AoJ,v.1,pg.121,139]
loose, pleated pants designed for sitting astride a horse or other outdoor activities; constructed from tanmono and tied at the waist; hem can be finished as even, open pleats, gathered by drawstrings at ankles, or fitted from the knee to the foot with button or tabi closures [trad.]
: float weave, a patterning technique in which yarn is deliberately left to float across the surface of the underlying weave structure.
round-faced fan: has fixed frame sandwiched between paper layers; often used as decorative motif in its' own right [AoJ,v.1,pg139]
Uchikake is a full-length unbelted outer robe with trailing hem. Until the Edo period, it was worn by women of Samurai, warrior, or noble families on special occasions. Since then, it had become a part of Japanese traditional bridal costume. Now it is only used for a wedding ceremony. The cotton is put inside the hemline to give added weight and form at the bottom
mallet of good fortune, one of the auspicious Collection of Treasures motifs. This mallet appears in traditional children�s tales, where it is depicted as granting the wishes of whoever shakes it.
a form of tapestry weave in which the design threads are floated across the back of the fabric; often used for No' costumes [trad.]
hand-held drum; usually played by striking with the free hand; sometimes used as textile motif in conjunction with other instruments, but other combinations are common [trad.]
free-hand dying technique similar to yuzenzome; employs a squeeze tube to apply resist; produces a cruder line and hence a rustic look; [BtTB, Mellott, pg.53-5]
grey-brown tint derived from acorns of oak [Quercus acutissima]; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg.25]
combined crane and tortoise motif.
A textile woven with hand-spun threads from cocoon fibres. It doesn't have a glossy nor smooth texture, but tasteful rough texture. The low quality, dirty and dupion (double) cocoons that were an inevitable product of raising silkworms were used to make raw silk which the farmers, during the quiet months of winter, spun into yarn and wove into what is known as tsumugi (pongee). Unlike high quality silk yarn taken from good cocoons, tsumugi yarn has to be twisted and joined as it is spun. The small knots thereby created give rise to the distinctively nubbly texture of the woven fabric. The sturdiness of tsumugi made it popular for clothing among samurai as well as rich townsmen and farmers.
informal, woman's kosode; characterized by decoration composed in vertical masses at both front and back hems [trad.]. One family crest on the center back is standard. Tsukesage is worn at either formal or informal occasions and refers to the way in which the patterns are dyed.The patterns of hemline go upward and meet at the top of the shoulders and the patterns on the sleeves also are the same.
decorative style that combines tie-dying and painting techniques; employs stitched borders to reserve areas for decoration; often supplemented by painted flowers; first popularized in Momoyama period; dyed edges often soft and blurred; [JCaTA,pg.145,48]
disk-shaped sword guard worn on daisho (paired long and short sword); fitted over the blade; often elaborately decorated; motif sometimes used on men's clothing [trad.]
ceremonial gateway which designates entry to Shinto precincts; constructed of two posts and one lintel that overhangs its' supports; often with additional braces for posts and sometimes an elaborate eaved roof [trad.]
motif comprised of two, or more comma-shaped elements with the heads grouped at the center and the tails sweeped in the same direction to form the circumference [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
formal kosode for married women at wedding and other formal occasions; typically decorated with yuzen-dyed motifs near the hem. Usually are adorned with family crests.
Also known as muslin. Thin fabrics woven with wool threads by Hira-ori that is the most common weaving technique.
A small, all-purpose towel made of lightweight cotton, often with a stencilled or shibori design and indigo dyed.
lidded box with removable interior compartments; frequently rectangular in form; first used by court ladies as cosmetic cases; also used as a decorative motif on textiles and ceramics [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
pattern of vertical, evenly-spaced, undulating lines arranged along the warp (tate) that alternately define constricted then swollen spaces; frequently filled with other decorative motifs [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
geometric motif, consisting of parallel lines forming a lattice of diamonds; originally, sawtooth border of triangles filled with parallel lines; earliest examples found on dotaku, a bell-shaped, ceremonial bronze form; [AoJ,v.1,pg.25,139]
stiff, rectangular slips of paper; intended for transcribing poems; frequently used as a decorative motif on textiles; see also shikishi [trad.]
A standard bolt of kimono cloth sufficient to make one kimono. Traditional width of fabric is approximately 36 cm (14 inches) and length is 10.6 meters (about 12 yards).
elaborate, figured gauze weaves; multiple colors and gold or silver thread may be added; named after the district of Kyoto where such fabrics are traditionally woven; especially favored by Zen clergy of the Kamakura period [JCaTA,pg.140]
�treasure key�, one of the auspicious Collection of Treasures motifs.
Collection of Treasures motif: a decorative design made up of auspicious objects deriving from Chinese legend.
hemp [Cannibis sativa; leaf fiber favored for use in summer garments by the bushi class; also used as a motif [asa+no=ha]; [BtTB, Cort, pg. 38]
One of the noshi-monyou patterns. Noshi originally means narrow strips of dried abalone bundled together in the middle, it was the ritual offering to God in Japanese Shinto religion. Often seen in the masterpieces of furisode kimonos, during the middle of Edo era, used by various techniques.
a style of wearing the kosode indoors that allows the full hem to trail after the wearer; not comonly seen, except among geiko; by extension, a kosode that has an unbroken pattern which continues onto the interior lining; often worn in dance recitals with the lower overlap purposely folded outward [trad.]
A stencilled imitation of the shibori technique called hitta in which small square motifs with a small dot of color in the center cover a specific area.
Metallic leaf. Paste is applied to the fabric, and gold and/or silver leaf is pressed on. After the paste has dried, the excess leaf is rubbed off to articulate a motif.
a russet tint derived from sappanwood chips [Caesalpina sappan]; originally introduced to Japan from China in the Asuka period [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg.27]
(flowing ink): marble-like grain pattern produced by dripping ink on damp paper; frequently used to decorate poetry sheets in the Heian period [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
A black ink made of pinewood charcoal or lamp soot mixed with a gum-like substance soluble in water.
stylized motif composed of three lobes; often employed as a landscape element (sandbar) [AoJ,v.1,pg.77,139]
open fan motif.
style of kimono decoration with complex, overall compositions; executed in multiple techniques and elaborate detail; resulting in dense composite designs [JCaTA,pg.119,120]
Heddles or warp-controllers, important components of the loom that are moved up and down to separate groups of warp threads to enable the weft to be passed in between.
vest-like garment with an open front; modeled upon a sleeveless ho; used to represent armor for warrior roles in No- performances [JCaTA,pg.59,60]
satin weave. A simple float weave requiring a minimum of five warp and wefts groups where warps float over a minimum of four wefts, are never bound by more than one weft, and diagonal alignment of floats is prevented by maintaining at least one intervening warp between binding points on successive wefts. The surface is shiny and smooth.
geometric pattern of alternating octagons and squares; abstraction of turtle carapace; often has floral motifs set within each panel [trad.]
(pine, bamboo, plum) motif: an auspicious design especially felicitous for wedding decorations or gifts.
threads that keep kimonos in good shape while being remade after washing.
The word shishu is made up of two Chinese characters: "shi" meaning "to sew with a needle" and "shu" meaning "to stitch patterns with yarns of different colours".
�pure white� White kimono worn with white and silver or gold obi for part of the wedding ceremony
Interlocking circles. Literally �seven treasures�; a design said to symbolize the Seven Treasures of Buddhism: crystal (hari), lapis (ruri), gold (kin), silver (gin), mother-of-pearl (shako), coral (sango), and carnelian (meno).
dip-dyeing used to dye both yarn and cloth.
Fabrics must be kept as flat as possible during dyeing. This is achieved by the use of shinshi, pliable bamboo rods with spikes at both ends. These are bent and the spikes inserted into the edges of the fabric, tensioning the fabric across its width. There are two kinds of shinshi: thin rods used singly and placed across the width of the fabric at right angles to the edges, and thicker rods used in pairs and joined together in a cross shape.
Japanese linden; bast fiber used for fabric [BtTB, Nagasaki, pg.17]
A general term for a combination of four plants; orchid, chrysanthemum, plum and bamboo.
squares of tinted or decorated paper used for inscribing poetry; also used as a decortive motif on kimono; see also tanzaku [trad.]
fabric of cotton warp and twisted paper wefts [BtTB, Nagasaki, pg.17]
Shichigosan is seven-five-three in Japanese.It is a gala day for children aged three, five and seven years of age. On November 15, parents take their children to a Shinto shrine to offer prayer for their children's growth. Boys are taken at age three and five, and girls three and seven. The children are dressed up in a gala kimono or fancy clothes to go to the shrines.
a type of resist dyeing in which certain areas on the cloth are reserved from dyeing by binding dots, stitching, or clamping and squeezing the cloth between boards. Different from other dyeing techniques, shibori creates a raised and wrinkled surface on the finished work.Shibori may be machine-made or hand-made. The latter demands a high price because it is such elaborate and intricate work. The most primitive of all dyeing methods, tie-dyeing is practiced throughout the world. The most primitive of all dyeing methods, tie-dyeing is practiced throughout the world. Numerous tie-dying techniques have been handed down in Japan over the centuries. These may be divided into three main types: tying such as in Hitta (or kanoko (deer spot)) shibori and Miura shibori; stitching and gathering such as in hiranui (stitched) shibori, orinui (folded and stitched) shibori and mokume (woodgrain) shibori, and the use of water resistant materials such as bamboo bark or vinyl such as in kawamaki (leather wrapped) shibori and boshi (hat) shibori. In oke (bucket) shibori, part of the fabric is sealed inside a bucket and the fabric that is left outside is dyed. In ara (lit. 'storm') shibori or bo (rod) shibori, fabric is wrapped around a thick rod and squeezed. In the case of itajime, wooden boards with patterns carved into them are clamped to either side of the fabric before dyeing.
stiff gauze weave with figured patterns; braiding of threads occurs in warp and weft directions; figures are created by changing to twill weave where design requires [trad.]
A gummy substance that glues together the filaments in a cocoon.
Literally �blue ocean wave�; an imbicate scallop or shell pattern considered to be a stylization of waves.
repeated maze pattern based upon swastika [trad.]
light monochrome figured silk with pattern in twill weave.
Long-and-short stitch. The inside of a motif is divided into several areas, which are then stitched from the outlines of each area toward the center of the motif in alternating long and short stitches. Used in realistic depictions or for a projected effect such as animal hair, and petals.
traditional form of quilting technique used to improve the warmth and durability of garments; employs thick cotton thread in lines of running stitches; originally used to patch and extend the life of clothing; later used a prior to decoration as well as improve fabric by this means (especially fireman's protective clothing); regional varieties abound; [BtTb, Shaver, pg.45]
One of the Kimono patterns on fine quality cottons. It has colorful patterns of human, plants, or other creatures (sometimes with mythical creatures). There are two ways of painting the sarasa pattern. One is to paint directly on the cotton, the other is to use a stencil.
reserve pattern of dots; arranged in concentric arcs or scattered randomly; usually produced by means of resist stenciling; said to resemble sting ray skin [trad.]
refers to fabric that has been woven with dyed threads. Dyeing can be divided into pre-dyeing (sakizome) and post-dyeing (atozome). In pre-dyeing, yarn is dyed before being woven into fabric. Patterned weaves, pongee (tsumugi) and ikat patterns are examples of sakizome.
�tear and weave�, a recycled weaving made of torn strips of used textiles.
a plain or compound weave with gilt or silvered paper for the warp and multiple colored silk wefts; because of the delicate warp, consumate skill and labor is required to produce only a few inches per day; presumably originated in Saga-ken [trad.]
a style of decorative composition found on tomesode; in vogue from late Meiji/early Taisho eras; characterized by a symmetrical repeat of motifs on the both lapels, which produces a single pyramidal image from lower-thigh to the hem [trad.]
motif of five rings arranged around a larger sixth; derived from Indian mythology; frequently used in family mon [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
technique of hand-applied wax-resist dying; characterized by small, broken lines where resist has cracked and allowed dye to seep in; known in Nara period [trad.]
Gauze weave alternating with plain weave. A warp yarn crosses three, five, or seven weft yarns in the plain weave, and the two warp yarns are twisted. Softer and more pliable than sha (gauze weave), ro was popular for summer kosode during the Edo period and remains in use today.
A self-patterned satin weave where the pattern is produced by the juxtaposition of the warp and weft faces of the weave. It is woven with the sericin still in the warps and wefts and is degummed (glossed) and dyed after being woven. Usually rinzu is woven in 4/1 or 7/1 warp-faced satin for the ground weave and � or 1/7 weft-faced satin weave for the patterning. The fabric is reversible. The scheme of the patterning of rinzu differs from the other satin damask weave, donsu, in that rinzu has a more equal balance between the amount of space allotted to the ground weave and that occupied by the patterning.
the fine bast fiber used to weave delicate fabrics.
variety of silk fabric made with hand twisted threads from Amami Island (Kagoshima); often dyed in kasuri technique with local earths; said to be long-wearing [trad.]
reed, a comb-like frame consisting of thin strips of bamboo which is used to separate the warps and to beat the weft against the previously woven area of the cloth. Metal reeds are more common than bamboo reeds today.
tie-dye technique; characterized by offset patches of resisted fabric flanking a common dyed line; gives the appearance of clenched teeth; created by shirring fabric between two parallel lines of basting stitches [trad.]