Kimono for a woman, 1920-40. Montgomery Collection

Kimono for a woman, 1920-40. Montgomery Collection

Kimono for a woman
Machine-spun pongee silk woven with stencil-printed warp and weft threads (meisen)
Japan, late Taisho-early Showa period, 1920-40
Montgomery Collection

Many early twentieth century kimono are made from meisen, a fabric woven from silk obtained from defective cocoons. The introduction of mechanised spinning technology made it possible to use this lower-quality silk to create a thick, lustrous material that was both long-lasting and relatively inexpensive. Patterned with chemical dyes using an innovative direct-dyeing technique, meisen became the fabric of choice for fashionable, casual kimono.