Kimono

Kimono

Kimono
Japan
1850-1880
Museum no. T.72-1957
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This kimono has been embroidered with an extremely potent image of dragons, the most powerful of the mythical beasts, and Mt Fuji, the quintessential symbol of Japan. The striking red silk ground makes the image all the more dramatic.Yet this is an under-kimono (juban), so its design would not have been seen when worn. Instead it served to symbolically wrap the wearer with divine power and protection. The garment has quite long sleeves, usually indicative of female dress, but the dragon is traditionally a very masculine motif, so this under-kimono may have been worn by a man.