tightly woven plain weave; made with hand-twisted, dyed thread with a firm texture [trad.] Omeshi garments were popular throughout the Showa era, especially during the 1950�s.
Omen spread in the East from its origin in South East Asia slowly. The earliest piece of imported cotton found in Japan dates from the 7th century however it was not until the 16th century that an adequate location to grow cotton was found in Japan, since the plant is semitropical and the Japanese climate was poorly suited for its cultivation. The introduction of cotton in the Edo period revolutionized textile products for commoners and was much more comfortable than bast fibers.
bast fiber of the elm [Ulmus]; primarily used by Ainu for clothing; does not readily hold dyes; often original yellow-brown fiber color remains untreated [BtTB, Cort, pg.42]
rectangular Buddhist vestment draped over left forearm; usually worn en suite with kesa, which it matches in form and fabrics; sometimes simulated by folded extension at left edge [trad.]
long cord tied outside the obi for decoration.
essentially a wrap-around sash, which keeps the front of the kimono closed; comes in many types and styles; all differentiated by gender, age, marital status, and occasion; some types are: chuya, fukuro, heko, hanhaba, kaku, maru, Nagoya, tsuke, Hakata
�wish-come-true pearl�, one of the auspicious Collection of Treasures motifs.
unfigured satin. The ground is of a thin satin structure with a smooth, lustrous surface.
An embroidery technique in which comparatively small-sized motifs are freely rendered in satin stitch regardless of the warp or weft structure of the weave. This is the most common technique for depicting a flat surface.
A combined technique of embroidery and �surihaku� (applied metallic leaf). Also refers to Noh robes decorated with this technique.
robe of kosode form with wide lapels; used as a basic garment for commoner dress in Noh performances; also used in conjunction with other garments for major roles [trad.]
bundle of abalone strips or paper used as an ornament for auspicious occasions; a decorative motif that represents same. Originally a �noshi� was a bundle of thin strips of dried abalone placed on a gift. Later it became a bundle of colourful bands of cloth tied in an ornamental knot. Then it became a piece of folded paper, �origami�, in which was inserted a strip of dries abalone. If the abalone is replaced by flowers, it is called �hanonoshi�
: restitching undertaken in order to hold down long floats.
entry curtain. Split into two or more segments, and hung over a doorway.
form of theatrical performance; developed and patronized by the military class in the Kamakura period; an out-growth of court Bugaku and Gagaku traditions [JCaTA,pg.53, 54]
compound weaves with decorative warp and weft threads; usually on plain or twill ground; also indicates any highly coloful pattern; colloquially known as "brocade" [trad.]
): Kyoto district famed since the sixteenth for its' textile production; established in the Kamakura period to encourage the development of weaving and sericulture in Japan [trad.]
honeysuckle [Lonicera sempervirens]; motif introduced from Korea; most popular during the Asuka and Nara periods; often organized as a palmette [AoJ,v.1,pg.20-24]
A plain weave (hira-ori) of unglossed silk (kiito) warps and glossed silk (neriito) wefts. It has a distinctive tension and luster and is favored in �tsujigahana� designs. It lost it�s popularity after rinzu appeared.
type of glossed silk first produced at Nishijin in the Momoyama period [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
traditional motif modeled on the shrub of the same name; especially noted for its' red berries [trad.]
. A variation of hira-ori (plain weave) with a set of two warps and two wefts. The fine stone pavement pattern resembles fish eggs, after which the weave is named.
the term originally applied to Portuguese and Dutch traders, who first arrived in Japan during the 16th century; by extension, any European; also motifs that either feature European figures or artifacts [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
a post-Meiji type of obi made from and extra long, standard width fabric; trailing end made by folding last few yards back upon itself then seaming the selvages; the plain remainder is folded in half, lengthwise and seamed all the way to the end; narrow portion is wrapped closest to the body [trad.]
a type of hakama worn exclusively indoors; during Heian Period, always red in color and worn by females with a white kosode as underlayer for more decorative and elaborate garments; in Edo Period most frequently worn at the Shogun's court on the most formal of occasions by daimyo[trad.]
: purple tint derived from gromwell [Lithospermum crythrorhizon] plant root; originally, a luxury import from China; also termed shikon; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg. 27]
a stylized, circular family crest displayed on certain Japanese clothing and used to identify family. handed down through the generations. It began as a heraldic emblem in the Heian period. Soon each noble family, the �daimyo�, began to adopt a specific crest. In the feudal period, samurai families adopted a mon to identify members of their clan during battles. After the Meiji restoration, the common people were permitted to use a family mon. Most mon designs are based either on flowers or geometrical designs. However, a few are based on the animals of the zodiac, birds, or butterflies. The mon design is dyed or woven at the back neck and top center of front and back of sleeves of the most formal black kimono (sometimes called a �five-mon kimono�). Slightly less formal are three-mon kimono with mon at the back neck and the top center back of sleeves. Formal haori and other kimono may have a single mon at the back neck.
process of resist dying; parallel rows of basting stitches compress fabric into furrows and ridges; only exposed edge of shirred fabric receives dye solution; simulates the parallel lines of tree ring growth [trad.]
or gauze weaving, in which the warps are twisted together to create open-structured fabrics such as sha, ro and ra gauzes.
formal style of mourning dress with five mon (family crests) worn by both genders; characterized by plain black color and lack of ornamentation; complemented by black tabi [trad.]
over-garment for male Noh roles
ceremonial kimono draped over a one-month old infant when first presented at ancestral Shinto shrine; usually styled like furisode but reduced; decorated with auspicious themes or motifs; mostly for boys.
Japanese folk crafts.
3/4 overcoat, usually worn by women; conforms to the kimono worn underneath and unlike the haori has a square collar that is closed with cords. [trad.]
tie-dyed motif of hollow squares, formalized into a checkerboard pattern arranged on a diagonal; commonly used as a mon [AoJ,v.1,pg.139]
a woven fabric that has had both warp and weft threads resisted and dyed prior to the final set up of the loom and weaving, so as to produce a preplanned design. The meisen style silk kimono was the most popular garment at the beginning of the Showa era, and was mainly produced between 1910 and 1960. Meisen garments were casual wear for wealthy Japanese but a fine cloth for ordinary people. The technique is related to earlier methods kasuri (ikat), in which threads are resisted before dyeing and weaving, and e-gasuri ("picture-ikat"), a Japanese innovation in which threads are resisted, rather than direct-dyed, with the use of a stencil. The silk used in meisen fabrics was made from broken cocoon filaments and silk thread
Fabrics imported from abroad during the 13th-16th century preserved in shrines, temples and the collections of daimyo families, they were highly prized and often used in the mountings of hanging scrolls or made into bags for tea ceremony utensils.
The silk wadding processed from the cocoons that have been pierced as the moth emerged from the cocoon. The thread cannot be reeled as a continuous filament from a pierced cocoon, but the cocoon can be stretched into a fairly large, flat, thin square of wadding.
�pine bark lozenge�, a geometric motif of three superimposed diamond forms used as an allover repeating pattern as well as a single unit.
An embroidery technique for rendering lines. The curved stitch follows upward the lines of the underdrawing and the width of the lines are varied by the layers of the stitch.
obi made from double-wide fabric, which is folded lengthwise, and hemmed at the selvages; always fully patterned; usually decorated in small, repeated motifs; often in multiple colors; typically the most formal obi worn by women [trad.]
style of tie dying; said to resemble bean (mame) shape but split by a resisted line [trad.]
fisherman�s ceremonial jacket.
garment, based upon court dress; generally used for female dance roles in Noh performances [trad.]
Literally �wild words�. An interlude of light social comedy or parody between two Noh plays in which the actors use ordinary speech or a dialect and do not wear masks. There is no musical accompaniment.
dyeing using plant extracts.
): formal kimono characterized by narrow cuffs and black ground; decorated with appropriate motifs in yuzenzome; worn by the mother and female relatives of the principals when attending weddings; by contrast, invited female guests wear the irotomesode [trad.]
formal black crested haori
black tint derived from initial immersion in brown (usually derived from native acorns), followed by application of iron mordant; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg. 27]
yellow tint derived from gardenia hulls [Gardenia jasminoides]; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg. 27]
mulberry [Broussonetia; bast fiber used for paper; paper used either as fabric or woven with other fibers [BtTB, Cort, pg.38]
ideogram meaning "long life" and "prosperity"; often used on textiles and porcelain [trad.]
: literally �small sleeves�. The kosode is the forerunner to the modern kimono worn by married women. In the Heian period, it was worn as an undergarment by both men and women of the court nobility. Later it became the outer garment for all the classes. The �small sleeves� referred originally to the small opening for the wrist, which distinguished the kosode from the �osode�, �large sleeves�, in which the wrist opening was the full length of the sleeve. In modern times, �kosode� also have �small sleeves� in the sense that that they are shorter than those of the furisode.
style of wear characterized by belting only the lower half of kosode at the waist and allowing the upper half to drape freely; also kosode of stiff brocade designed for this style [trad.]
fine overall pattern; usually resist dyed; favored by samurai for formal wear [trad.]
Colored, gold, and silver threads that are too thick to pass through the eye of a needle are laid along the underdrawing and couched by another thin silk thread.
guardian dog, a mythical lion-like beast that repels evil.
dense geometric patterned embroidery on work clothing.
Short-sleeved furisode. The length of the sleeves is about 30 inches.
auspicious flowers such as chrysanthemum, peony, plum flower, Paulson and others
decorative fabric inserts or applique; formerly known as zogan [JCaTA,pg.157]
combined paulownia and phoenix motif.
silk fabric woven with gold threads.
High quality silk-gauze woven with foil, gold and silk threads. As it is thin and light, it is used for summer wear.
fine grade of chirimen [trad.]
from Yuzen-zome. Gilt technique with gold and silver
twill silk fabric; decorative motifs are woven in gold thread; introduced to Japan during Ming dynasty [JCaTA,pg.143,44]
: literally �the thing worn�. Originally, to the Japanese kimono meant simply �clothing�, but today kimono sometimes is used often as a generic term for all types of kosode and as the name for any contemporary garment that in any way resembles the kosode. However, the contemporary wearer of these garments uses the proper Japanese name for each garment. Kosode, not kimono, is the generic term used when referring to the kimono-like garments worn in earlier periods.
hexagonal motif used as an allover pattern or as a single unit. Has felicitous connotations because the tortoise symbolizes longevity.
yellow tint derived from the bark of Amur cork tree [Phellodendron amurense]; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg. 27]
curtain: standing curtain used to partition rooms or to block the wind.
rectangular or trapezoidal stole worn by Buddhist priests; often paired with an ohi of similar design; is draped under the right arm and cinched over the left shoulder with cords; styles vary according to sect. Kesa are often made of patchwork to suggest the patched clothing of the poor
dye technique; starch resist process applied with paper stencils; one paper stencil per color required. Often dip-dyed, but sometimes dye is applied by brush or thickened and applied by tube. Stencil dyeing is well suited for mass production, while the designs, made by repetition of the patterning process, have a uniquely rhythmical beauty that has been cherished by people in all parts of Japan since ancient times. Bingati is the bright, polychrome katazome developed in Okinawa.
style of decoration for kosode confined to the shoulders and hem; often done in embroidery [JCaTA,pg.119]
style of garment in which the halves are made from different fabrics or designs; sleeves may be alternated as well [AoJ,v.1,138]
stiff, sleeveless jacket or jumper worn as a costume in Kyogen drama [AoJ,v.1,pg.109,114]; similar in form to the upper half of the kamishimo
unlined summer kosode made of fine hemp cloth; often yuzen-dyed,and embellished with embroidery. The katabiri was often decorated with patterns that give a �cool� feeling, such as flowing water or snow.
technique for creating patterns in fabric by selectively dying warp and/or weft threads before weaving them together; pattern edges are often blurred due to inexact registration of the threads; geometric figures in white and indigo are most common, with the most popular being cross and parallel cross designs; also applied to fabrics that employ this technique; see also egasuri [AoJ,v.1,pg138]; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg.57-74]
style of dress that derives it effect from the contrast of many layers of single-colored garments.
yellow tint obtained from miscanthus grass [Miscanthus tinctorius]; [BtTB, Dusenbury, pg. 27]
short over-jacket; with round collar closure and drawstring duffs; often used for Noh- male roles [trad.]
compound weave, with satin designs on a twill ground; highly embellished with multiple colors and gold; now largely used exclusively in Noh drama [AoJ,v.1,pg.138]
Literally �Chinese grasses�. A design of curving tendrils, sometimes with leaves and flowers, introduced into Japan from Tang dynasty China in the eighth century. �Arabesque�, another translation of karakusa, is an inaccurate description of these textile designs. Unfortunately, it was chosen rather than �foliage� or �scroll work�, two other meanings of karakusa.
specifically, thigh-length traveling cape; semi-circular form, with shallow stand-up collar; usually double layer of cotton fabric with waterproof paper sandwiched between [Trad.]
One of the tie-dyed techniques. The pattern looks like dots on the back of deer. Kanoko literally means infant deer.
): tie-dye technique; named for its' resemblance to the spotting on a fawn's coat [trad.]
�money bag�, one of the auspicious Collection of Treasures motifs.
treated paper (usually made from mulberry fiber); used as fabric for clothing [BtTB, Nagasaki, pg.17-19]
magic �hiding cape�, one of the auspicious Collection of Treasures motifs.
magic �hiding hat�, one of the auspicious Collection of treasures motifs.
stiff, single-layer obi some 4-5 inches in width; mostly worn by adult males, but sometimes also by adult females [trad.]
Hand-painting on fabric, usually with sumi ink. The best-known example is the use of kaki-e in tsujigahana textiles.
mending technique. To sew a torn part to hide the seam.
name for the kimono worn under the uchikake during a wedding ceremony.
style of decoration employing yuzen technique; motifs and compositions reflect a more exuberant taste developed in Kaga (present Ishikawa); especially when persimmon red is used; also Kagazome [trad.]
colloquially, the term applied to a 12 layered form of dress for court women, which originated in the Heian period; actual number of layers varied with time; sometimes as many as 15 or as few as nine; [JCaTA,pg.14]
undergarment worn beneath the kimono; it�s construction is similar to that of the kimono. Traditionally the patterns and colors are bold. Naga-juban are ankle length, and han-juban are hip length.
pattern produced by shaping clay vessels with a paddle or stick wrapped with twisted cord; the pottery and period derive their names from this technique [AoJ,v.1,pg.138]
superior grade of plain-weave hemp [Cannabis sativa]or linen cloth; especially favored for summer wear by the samurai class; see katabira; later applied to summer weight fabrics that have a similar texture (even silk) [BtTB, Nagasaki, pg.17]