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Sold Archive: African & Asian Textiles & Costume

Japanese, late Edo period (mid-19th century)
So-called for its small arm openings just large enough to fit the limb through and its shorter sleeve length, the kosode (literally, "small sleeve"), was the preferred garment of upper-class married women (as opposed to the long and pendulous sleeves of court robes worn by young, unmarried girls). This mid-nineteenth-century example features an undulating design of chrysanthemums, wisteria, peonies, and clouds densely embroidered in vivid polychrome silks and gilt-wrapped threads, with added filler details in kata kanoko, a stenciling technique used to create an overall latticework effect in imitation of kanoko shibori, where tiny sections would be tied off in resist before dyeing, and which resulted in a design of densely packed circles, or "eyes". The silk crepe ground, kinu chijimi, is a luxurious ode to the more common ground fabric for summer robes, ramie.
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