Beautiful antique purple meisen silk kimono with a woven pattern of manji and squares in golden yellow and white. This amazing lively kimono has a hot acid green lining on the lower edge and sleeves.
This item dates from the Taisho period (1912 – 1926) and is in very good to excellent condition for its age.
It measures 155 cm from the neck to the bottom hem, 63 cm from the centre of the neck to the end of the sleeve, and the sleeves have a 51 cm drop.
• Manji: Also called mangi and saaya, Buddhist cross that stands for good fortune, luck and well being, a symbol of plurality, eternity, abundance, prosperity and long life. It also signifies Buddha’s footprints and the Buddha’s heart. The swastika is said to contain the whole mind of the Buddha and can often be found imprinted on the chest, feet or palms of Buddha images. It is also the first of the 65 auspicious symbols on the footprint of the Buddha. It is often used to mark the beginning of Buddhist texts.
• Meisen: Meisen silk, generally crisp and supple, is one of the Japanese silks fabricated by weaving pre-dyed threads, utilizing the tie-and-resist ikat technique (ikat is an Indonesian term widely utilized to refer to this technique).
In this process, the threads, silk or cotton, are first stretched on a frame. Selected design areas are tightly bound to prevent the dye from penetrating and the hanks of threads are immersed in the dye pots. The bound portions of the yarns resist the dye and when woven, as a result of the threads not being perfectly aligned, create shapes with charmingly uneven edges.
Other Japanese textiles that are made with variations of this technique are cotton kasuri,omeshisilk and tsumugi silk. (described below).
Meisen silk was a popular fabric for casual kimono from 1910 to 1950, in part because it was more affordable, and in part because the designs, frequently drawing on Western influences, seemed adventurous and innovative. Even today they retain a contemporary sensibility.