Bebe Taian: They're Here Already!

May 11, 2011

They're Here Already!

They're here already! <3 Paid for on the 8th, arrived the morning of the 11th. Isn't that freaking AWESOME? The cats are up, jumping around, so I'm going to wait until I clean the floors and they start napping (about midday) to open up everything and really look at it. But so far, I'm not disappointed. The shipping time alone was amazing.

I can tell on the ofurisode, while it's folded, that much of the kinran has either faded off (what's left is thread wrapped in paper with flecks of gold) or has weakened. It will need to be restored. I want to get real kinran for that. Also, I think it may have been hand dyed because of little things that I don't usually see with machine-printed items: slight overlaps in inks, tiny runs in certain colours... things like this. I haven't checked stitching yet, but not so long ago, a woman was not considered to be well-educated if she couldn't sew a kimono. For it's age, I am certain it was hand-stitched. Even so, I will check to be sure. As for repairs and sewing, I am sure that I can learn quickly.

The tomesode is in equally bright colours. Much brighter than what I'm used to seeing for something from the 1930s. Again, it looks to be hand-dyed and sewn. I will have to check them both more thoroughly for damages. Because the advertisements did not really mention any specific stains, only a "3/5 condition" for each, I am not quite sure what to expect.

But again, this is the risk of buying kimono online from overseas with some sellers. You cannot see in person what you are buying before it's in your country. Since these are very old pieces, I hope that they are wearable, and if not, at least displayable and can be fixed. Not everyone understands that silk naturally turns brown or yellow with age, and it doesn't always do so evenly. I expect there to be stains on both pieces. I am just not certain about how extensive the damages are. Today, I will find out.

UPDATE:

The tomesode is almost pristine. Aside from some faint white marks on one sleeve, there are no flaws that I can find anywhere. Of course, the pattern at the bottom is starting to yellow, but that happens when something is nearly 100 years old- tell me that you'll look as good as you do now in a century! I expected to pay around $100 for something like this, plus shipping to import something like this. Tomesode are relatively common- since they are so formal, I hardly expect them to be worn frequently. They will probably spend the most time in storage.

The furisode, however, has many, many damages. It cannot be worn. I am hesitant to attempt cleaning it. I may repair the existing threads, but I cannot bother with spending so much money tracking down and buying real kinran to restore it. This is beyond my expertise. But, it is still probably good enough for museum viewing, and the crests are clear. Furisode of similar age and quality on Ichiroya cost around what I paid to double to triple what I paid for this one. I may be able to do some inconspicuous spot-cleaning after I research how to best clean the silks, but it will never be wearable. Still, I am not disappointed. It is possible to fix the existing threads, some of the actual embroidery is still beautiful, and despite the many, many stains, some of them may be able to be cleaned or lessened. For a Taisho furisode, this is about what I expected. I am happy that I got the discount that I did- it allowed me to get a pristine early Showa piece- but I am also not unhappy with what I found. It's par for the course.

The real question is now, with the condition of the furisode, should I bother with buying an obi to match it? Even just for display... with the possibility of reselling it...

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