Bebe Taian: September 2011

September 21, 2011

More Old Photos

 A series of old photos from postcards. Some are very well-preserved; others are in terrible condition. I hope that one day I can archive and perhaps digitally restore some of them.

On the right, a tayuu (highest rank of courtesan) is flanked by six kamuro, who are servants and apprentices to tayuu. You can only see a few in this photo. I bought the postcard over the weekend and haven't yet received it for better photographing. The tayuu/oiran ranks were nearly extinct by the early 1900's, so this is a somewhat rare find!

September 20, 2011

Revisiting Old Photographs

I'm revisiting old photographs. Ones I'd forgotten, some I don't care for. I've never been very photogenic... This one was taken by my mother in law last year (I think) at our birthday lunch. I wore the purple Taisho and juban kimono that my husband bought me for Christmas. There are a few variations on this outfit, including a red plum blossom obi combo. The issue with getting my collars to stay is ongoing, although I've found that korin belts do wonders!

And others, others are some from private collections. It reminds me of how much I need a scanner! I have a collection of postcards from my paternal grandfather, who brought sets of them back from Japan during his stay in Okinawa (a military guy, of course). Some are ones I've purchased more recently, within the past two years.

Despite my financial setbacks recently, I've decided to stop buying sushi here and there while working (I get it at a discount, since I work there), and put in for a few postcards to add to the collection. I am also going to ramp up my efforts to make more sales, although, that mostly has to do with paying the bills. I've spent most of my waking hours working recently; I think a little retail therapy is in order.

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?

September 15, 2011

Two Down, One To Go!

Two down, one to go! Two of the vintage men's kaku obi sold yesterday. That lovely gold one, and the bright red one as well. That leaves the subtle and sophisticated blue obi.

The san-san-kudo set from before has also been sold recently. It was a beautiful set. The white uchikake is still available, though! It would be excellent for Halloween. Honestly, I'd thought of getting a black obi and white wedding accessories and doing the Heron Woman from 'Sagi Musume'...

It almost makes me wonder if I shouldn't quit Artfire, despite the money it will cost me every month to sell there. I've made three sales so far since April. Which, I admit is far better than I did on Etsy. Maybe I'll stay on for one more month? I've been so busy running two other operations that I haven't had time to make a new website for BebeTaian!

As a side note, I think it is the play 'Sagi Musume' which inspired the decidedly non-geishalike dance in 'Memoirs of a Geisha/Sayuri'. Don't you think so?


September 5, 2011

Private Collection: Taisho Tachibana Kimono

I have a side job at Ichiban Restaurant now. I have never worked in a restaurant before, and my health is not the best, so it is perhaps harder work for me to get used to. Even so, I want to work hard, and learn how to do things better so that my coworkers will have less burden. They are looking out for me, but really, I need to learn how to look out for myself and be the best so that I can help them.

We do not wear kimono anymore. It is too hot lately to work in them. Much cooler and faster to work in shirts and pants.

I haven't worn kimono since around Natsu Matsuri. Recently, I wore my purple yukata with a red obi, and my blue asanoha kimono with a gold obi. Maybe I am a little paranoid. I worry that if my heart has another problem, maybe the paramedics won't be able to easily get me out of kimono- or worse, they would cut the kimono to get it off! I would cry if I lost a Taisho piece to THAT. Clearly, I've recovered from past incidents of heart issues. I'm tougher than I let on! My kimono will not recover.

This is one of my Taisho pieces that I love. Three seasons of beauty! I love the tachibana detail, hidden when worn. I have two or three obi to wear with this, including a mint green momiji fukuro, a bold red ume fukuro, and a silver wave fukuro obi that matches the hemline. I'm not sure which one I like wearing with this kimono best, but it means that I have something for three seasons to specify which season it's being worn in! It is the same red ume fukuro obi that I wear in my photo of the purple Taisho kimono, so I feel comfortable wearing this obi with more than one outfit. For me, this is great- I have obi with no kimono to wear them with yet!

I seem to have an issue with overheating lately, even in cool air-conditioned places. Ice showers are keeping things in check for now, but it means wearing kimono less. I may end up getting a few more yukata to wear around the house, or simply taking the yukata I already have for sale and seeing what fits. ^_^

So, no kimono for right now. When I'm back to full capabilities, I hope to continue updating this blog with monthly info on motifs, new collection photos, folklore, and lots of great stuff!