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Formal Kimono (Houmongi)

Curated Submission
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
158 x 128
Materials & techniques
Silk, gold thread; Resist dyed, painted, embroidered, hand-sewn
Gift of Mary Hiraishi
Textile Museum of Canada T93.0103a
This silk kimono was worn by its donor Mary Hiraishi in her early days in Vancouver when she performed with a Japanese musical group. It was commissioned for her by her mother, Teru Hiraishi, in 1939 in Okayama, a prefecture north of Hiroshima, who chose the colour and design. It is a formal kimono traditionally worn by married women for special occasions such as weddings, New Year celebrations, and tea ceremonies. Its young-grass green colour (waka-kusa) suggests that it was intended for wear in early spring. The fabric was hand-dyed, and the mist and flower designs that decorate it were painted and embroidered by hand. The kimono features five family crests indicating its formal nature. The crest is a butterfly, associated with the Taira samurai clan and with the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth.
Although the kimono is no longer everyday attire in Japan, it remains a universal symbol of beauty in Japanese culture and the preferred attire for special occasions in Japan and within Japanese communities around the world.
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