Bebe Taian: Tomesode Sneak Peek

September 20, 2011

Tomesode Sneak Peek

A quick sneak peek at the details on a tomesode I am selling!

I loved this piece so much, especially with a gold fukuro obi with red details. <3 A maru obi would have been lovely to wear with it, but alas, I lack one that fits it well! I paired it with the white obiage and obijime listed on ArtFire.

I wavered on selling this one. For a tomesode, it was so bright! Most tomesode, by definition, are subdued in muted and dull colours. To find one so brilliantly adorned in reds and bright greens- it was stunning! The crane motif is especially luxurious. I can't help but to wonder if this was worn by the mother of a bride, or perhaps, by a bride herself at a reception party. Maybe it was her first kurotomesode? Maybe...

Really, the photo doesn't do it justice. It leaves out the black and orange bamboo motif, the peach momiji, and the constellation of gold dust scattered across the wings of the cranes.You can't feel the raised texture of the ever-refined kinran (gold threads) couched to outline highlighted details. You can't feel the texture of the silks as they slip through your hands. I'll grant that some of the gold dust has worn away in bits and pieces here and there, and there is a smudge or two, but it's unlikely to be noticed without a thorough inspection... and who would, when the piece in it's entirety is dazzling?

Kimono measurements:

From hem to shoulder, along the back seam - 63"/157.5CM
Wrist to wrist - 53"/132.5CM
Sleeve length - 19.25"/49CM
Width of bottom hem - 22.5"/56CM
Crest is kiri, paulownia. 

By the fine yellowed appearance of some of the silk, I can tell that it is not a new piece, likely from Showa era. I cannot be certain. With newer "standardized" kimono, it can be so hard to tell. However, it was well-stored. The yellowing so far seems to be slight and even, not blotchy like kimono which were exposed to moisture. The colour pairs in the bamboo (purple and yellow) remind me somewhat of the Taisho-era colourings once so popular, imitated in the late 60s and 70s but yet not quite from that time frame. The leafing appeared to be hand-drawn, and by the tiny white stitches at the hem, it was also hand-sewn. The person who made this kimono had skill; clearly, it was a lavishly expensive outfit. I doubt there is another quite like it.

Still, tomesode are quite common. Because they are the most formal of outfits, there is somewhat of a limited wearability to kurotomesode. Perhaps they would be for someone attending a formal black tie affair, an opera or Broadway show, to a wedding of a close friend or family member (if you are already married; otherwise, irotomesode or ofurisode would be worn), or something similar. Some people choose to display these gorgeous kimono for a bold and decadent Asian motif to their rooms! It is as easy as hanging a curtain rod on the wall, or getting a special kimono hanger.

Can you see yourself in it?


  1. What a beautiful tomesode - it's nice to see such a colourful and boldly patterned one for a change, although some of the more subdued ones are so pretty too. I hope it finds a nice new home soon :)

    I'm still hoping to find a nice tomesode to add to my collection (despite not being married and technichally unable to wear it - not that that will stop me!) but I'm still waiting to stumble across 'the one' :o)

  2. My first kimono was a tomesode! <3 I think if the occasion is formal enough, and you do not want to advertise yourself as being available, then maybe it is OK. Maybe not so many people in America know the difference, anyways- not unless they have some connection to Japan, or study kimono themselves! Don't be afraid to wear or display them. At least, you could dress up and take photos!