Kimono (detail)

Kimono (detail)

Kimono (detail)
Japan
1860-1880
Museum no. T.65-1915
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The carp and swirling water that decorates this kimono is an auspicious one. It derives from a Chinese legend in which any fish able to leap the waterfall is transformed into a dragon (a metaphor for achievement and advancement in life). The design is executed with long supplementary wefts, a weaving technique that is unusual in kimono fabric. According to the donor, it once belonged to the famous kabuki theatre actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX and may have been worn for performance.