Cover Graphics

Long-sleeved kimono with flowing water and autumn grass pattern,
"Chichibu Meisen" poster,
and "Women's Club yukata" poster
(held in the collection of the National Museum of Japanese History)

Long-sleeved kimono with flowing water and autumn grass pattern
This is one of the kimonos owned by Mieko, the second daughter of Prince Takehito Arisugawa, who married Yoshihisa Tokugawa in 1908. The depiction of Western flowers and plants using dark and elegant coloring became popular in the time around the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912) and beginning of the Taisho period (1912-1926). This long-sleeve kimono is a good example of this type of kimono.
Chemical dyes were used, and these dyes were soon used in kimonos worn by upper class women, perhaps because of their spirit of innovation that combined hues and techniques that had not been seen before.

"Chichibu Meisen" poster (left)
"Meisen" is a silk fabric known as "egasuri" that uses thick thread and was produced mainly in Gunma Prefecture. Besides being a moderately priced and hardwearing fabric, its colorful and bold patterns made it fashionable among women around the end of the Taisho period and in the early part of the Showa period (1926-1989).
"Women's Club yukata" poster (right)
The period spanning the latter part of the Meiji period through the early part of the Showa period was a time when fashionable kimono designs came and went in quick succession. It was not unusual for yukata to be dyed. The caption "Grand prize of 20,000 yen" on the poster most probably refers to the prize money for a competition for designs.

Kazuto Sawada
(Research Department, National Museum of Japanese History)


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