VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Kimono
FE.32-1982
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The long 'swinging sleeves' (furisode) of this kimono indicate that it would have been worn by a young woman. Red was a popular choice for young women’s kimonos because the colour symbolised youth and glamour. The dye used for this kimono, known as beni, was produced from safflowers and was very expensive. The whole garment is decorated using a tie-dyeing technique known as shibori, which was also very costly. The woman who wore this kimono must have come from a very wealthy family. The auspicious design of pine, bamboo and plum on the hem and sleeve ends suggests she wore it for a special occasion. The garment has been shortened at the waist, indicating that it was designed, or later adapted, to be an under-kimono.

History of the Object
This kimono has become one of the iconic images of the Japanese collection at the Victoria and albert Museum. It displays an elegance which has long been assocaited with the Floating World - the Pleasure Quarters of Japan.

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Type
Textile 
Materials
Monochrome figured satin silk (rinzu), with tie-dyeing (kanoko shibori) 
Measurements
Width 123cm Length 132cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan; Kyoto 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
18th Century - 19th Century; 1790-1830 
Function
 
Acquisition
Purchased 1982 as a fine and rare example of this style of kimono. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Credit line
© V&A Images, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 

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