Kimono, Japan

Kimono, Japan

Shibui (refined austerity) colours: Green

Green has always been associated with the natural world and rural life. Green also represents peace and tranquility of spirit. It is therefore an appropriate colour for an older person to wear. Green is also associated with evergreen plants and trees and so symbolises eternal life.

Kimono
Japan
1820-60
Satin silk, embroidered in silk and metallic thread
Width 124cm x height 189 cm
Museum no. FE.11-1983
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The long 'swinging sleeves' (furisode) of this kimono indicate that it would have been worn by a young unmarried woman. The family crest, mon, across the shoulders suggest that she was probably a woman of the samurai class, the military aristocracy of Japan in the Edo period (1615-1868). The garment has a large padded hem and was designed as an outer kimono for winter wear. It would have been worn without an obi, the sash that secures the garment, so no part of the beautifully embroidered design would have been obscured. The pattern of floral roundels was a favourite among women of the samurai class.