Bebe Taian: Coveted Kimono: Taisho Dragons

June 13, 2012

Coveted Kimono: Taisho Dragons

I have a thing for dragon motifs. I think it's because they are snake-like (and I adore snakes), and also because they're a symbol of power. Dragons are notorious for being tough, intellectual, self-assured, passionate, and loyal. They are also known for being demanding, overbearing, imperious, and violent. "Do what it takes to get what you want" has a whole new meaning in a dragon's eyes. Yep. It's pretty much my dominant nature.

But it's a little unusual to find a women's kimono with a dragon on it. Despite how many women are born during Dragon years, the dragon is still seen as primarily a masculine symbol. More and more now, we can find clothing (especially obi) with dragons on them, but a kimono for women is rare. Maybe for special classes of women, such as yakuza's wives, or tayuu (now virtually extinct), but not for ordinary women. As a consequence, I'll take what I can get! But even these would set me back $1000, minimum. x.x

I recently found two rosy pink obi from Taisho era featuring dragons. Both appear to be hand-embroidered, and very intricately so. I recently picked up a book on how to do embroidery Chinese style (a style which was later imported into Japan, so I can feel secure in the stylistic accuracy, even if the motifs are different).

Unfortunately, both are very fragile. I would have liked to see them remade so that they are wearable. I have to wonder what kind of women wore these nearly 100 years ago. Surely, they weren't willowy, delicate girls- or perhaps they were, and wanted to invoke a sense of power and grace in themselves.

In any case, I also can't help but wonder what they might have worn these with. Pale yellow? A matching red? Something bold, like dusk-blues with pinks, reds, and silvers like peonies on the river? Dragons are associated with water as much as clouds. A wave-pattern kimono would have made sense.

Obi like these make me question why kimono ever went out of fashion.

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