This fine example of a Japanese (batik_printed) (yukata_kimono) was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli in 2022 from a dealer in Japan, to enhance The Zay Initiative collection.
This yukata_kimono is constructed of an impressive blend of cotton and hemp fabric that has been dyed with (indigo) in (roketsuzome) print technique akin to Indonesian batik_print. It also features intricate hand-stitched details.
The floral pattern is bold and large in grey and white and set against a very dark indigo blue background that looks almost black. The hemp blend gives the fabric a very unique and original crisp texture. This piece is completely unlined.
While the origin of certain techniques and methods in textiles like satin_stitch embroidery can be traced to China, and its spread across the world could be attributed to the Silk Road, other similar techniques and styles are believed to have originated independently in different regions of the world almost simultaneously in human history possibly from necessity and convenience.
Though The Zay Initiative is concerned mainly with the dress and adornment heritage of the Arab world, it does include in its collection articles from areas outside the region. These tend to be collected to illustrate specific shared elements and influences attesting that the Arab world never existed in a vacuum. It constantly drew, and continues to draw, inspiration and influences from the cultures it comes in contact with be it through trade or geopolitical circumstances, especially those countries within the old silk route.
Therefore, one cannot but draw parallels between many techniques used in such garments, such as (couching) and thread knotting techniques (macrame), or flat metal adornment (talli), that are quite similar to those found in different parts of the Arab region.
The kimono, in particular, displays similarities that can be drawn with the pattern of Arab women’s overgarment or the (thawb), common to the Gulf region, constructed of three uncut panels of broad clothes forming the central body panel and the side sleeve panels very similar in shape to the kimono.
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