Bebe Taian: Kinyoubi Kimono Challenge

January 6, 2012

Kinyoubi Kimono Challenge

So, it's the new thing. Everyone's doing it, right? :P Strawberry Kimono, Kira-Kira, plenty of others. It's the Kimono Challenge list! 13 questions to get you thinking about your 'kimono evolution'. So, why not? I'll try to do this once a month. ^_^ First Friday of every month, okay?

1. How did you discover and get into kimono?

This doll. 

It's a vintage (probably late 1950's-1960s) Fuji Musume ningyo from Japan. Originally, it had a gorgeous black lacquered case, and probably a wooden sign signifying who made it, but the case has been dismantled and is being stored after one of the original panes of ultra-fragile glass broke during a move. The hair of the doll is extremely brittle and is clearly fraying. Even dusting it could break the horse hair strands (I believe they are horse hair; maybe they are early synthetics?) The 'kimono' fabric is synthetic and silk, I believe. She carries a long strand of paper fuji. Actually, there is a hat to go with the straps in her hair, but I have to find the pin to keep it on. 

Still, I think it's beautiful.
My aunt owned it after my paternal grandfather came back from military duty in Occupied/post-war Japan and brought it over. These sorts of dolls were made for mass-consumption, in varying degrees of skill and artistry. Some are very refined and lifelike; some are like 3-D ukiyo-e paintings; some were cheaply put together and some were very expensive and ornate. Considering the state of this one, I'm not sure how much it would be worth, but as I'm not selling it I guess it doesn't matter until I go to buy renters' insurance, right?
I wanted to be pretty like that when I was older. I liked the outfit, and wanted something like that. Initially, that's why I bought a shiromuku at 13 or so. I wanted something bright to dress like the doll for Halloween or something, but at the time, few sellers were on Ebay, and Ichiroya was prohibitively expensive. Not much information on wearing kimono properly was available on the internet, and although there was plenty in books, I could never afford them. Thus, why I'm a big fan of writing about the things I gather from books! 
Today, I'm a kimonoholic. I try to wear one at least once a month, but before, when it was cooler, I'd wear them almost every few days. Now, even 70F is too hot for me. I can't imagine wrapping up in silks in this Florida weather! Even so, I try to wear them when I can. Now I just have to get photos when I do...

Next: Your dearest kimono item(s).

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