This black and pink (kuro_tomesode_kimono) was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli from a dealer in New York in 2017 to enhance the collection of The Zay Initiative.
This is a beautiful black (gauze) silk (damask) kuro_tomesode_kimono in (quadrille) weave is a typical summer (kimono) without any lining.
The field of the kimono is a damask fabric in silk gauze woven in quadrille style creating repeat motifs of thin bamboo leaves. Supplementary threads in metallic pink on some of the motifs create a textured layer creating an illusion of a dry brush stroke painting.
The lack of crest in this kimono suggests that this kuro_tomesode_kimono was perhaps used for casual family gatherings by a married woman as black kimonos are traditionally worn by only married women.
The kimono is not lined at all except for the ivory (satin) (haneri) around the collar with rows of lines running parallel to one another created by the absence of (weft) threads at regular intervals. The lack of lining suggests that this was a summer kimono.
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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