This exquisite (chirimen) silk (kuro_tomesode_kimono) was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli in 2017 by Ms. Manami Tominaga, a Japanese lady living in the UAE. It was purchased to enhance the Zay Initiative’s collection along with four more (ZI2017.500480 ASIA, ZI2017.500481 ASIA, ZI2017.500482 ASIA, ZI2017.500483 ASIA).
This is a beautiful and elegant kuro_tomesode_kimono in black chirimen fabric. With five crests this kimono is for the utmost formal occasion.
This kuro_tomesode_kimono in black crepe silk is embellished near the back hem with a landscape scenery depicting storks and cranes in flight above a flowing water body. The embellished elements are both printed as well as embroidered. While the water is depicted through print medium primarily in blue with white and gold highlights, the birds are both printed as well as embroidered. Some of the birds are printed in shades of brown some of them are embroidered in (satin_stitch) style using grey, white, and light-yellow silk floss as well as metal threads.
It is a completely hand-stitched piece with an ivory (satin) lining. For the entire midsection, it retains its original lining while the collar and the sleeves have been replaced with a newer version. The collar also has an ivory satin (haneri) attached to it to keep the (juban) of the wearer clean.
Traditionally, only married women would wear a kuro_tomesode_kimono like this, especially for important formal occasions like weddings with their respective family crests. Usually, the number of crests varies from one to five with the latter being reserved for extremely formal occasions.
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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