Bebe Taian: For Sale: Bright Kurotomesode

March 1, 2013

For Sale: Bright Kurotomesode

I've shown glimpses of this one before, but I never really cleared adequate space to photograph it until now. There's really no excuse. It's been two years, and I've photographed other kimono since, despite my camera's failings. But finally, I've done it today. I only wanted to unfold/refold so many right now, since the room is particularly clean, but I have virtually 0 energy. I took some photos of other items, but I'll wait to post those. Bonus: today was really sunny out, so there was actually some light in the apartment! Always a challenge in here, with so few windows, and none facing east or west.

This kurotomesode (black tomesode) is from Showa or early Heisei, and features cranes on a Japanese courtyard-style setting. The colours for the tomesode are quite unusual: neon greens, blues, purples, and yellow, paired with the more traditional red, white, and gold. There is both gold couching embroidery and gold dust adhered with rice glue in the details. This means that it cannot get wet, or the dust will come off!

Since kurotomesode are the most formal category of kimono, it is most appropriately worn to operas, black-tie events, weddings, etc. Normally, married women or older women will wear a kurotomesode, where an unmarried woman over 25 would likely choose a five-crested irotomesode (a coloured tomesode) to show her unmarried status. Although, a more conservative woman (or a woman who does not want to be married) might also wear a kurotomesode in this situation. This kimono in particular has a pattern of many flying cranes, so it is likely that it belonged to the mother of a bride, or maybe an older sister.

I can only find one flaw on this kimono, which is quite unusual for a vintage piece. Normally, such kimono have sections of fading where they were hung for display, or where light got to them, or small holes from the inevitable insects, animal claws, or other hazards of wearing clothing had occurred. But the only damage to this one is a single black spot in the wrong place on the interior design. The spot appears to be black dye, a small smudge in the wrong place. On the whole, this kimono is pristine, and may have never been worn.

The stitching at the back seam shows that the kimono was hand-sewn, not a modern machine-made piece. Kimono like this are ridiculously expensive when purchased new at a shop, especially when they are hand-sewn instead of machine-sewn!

But as it is, I am selling this one at a very low price. I simply don't have the storage necessary for my entire collection anymore, so I'm weeding out those that I don't wear frequently, or ones that I bought with other lots which are not appropriate for me to wear, such as children's kimono, wedding items, etc.

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. 

Age: 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.

See it here!

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