Vintage Furisode–Summer Reading

Bright Summer Flowers And Books On Sheer Black Silk.

This one is a rare bird, also covered in adorable little plover birds. I believe it to be late Taisho to early Showa Era, probably not any younger than the 1950’s. That’s an inspired guess based on the feel of the fabric, the themes, and the tone of the colours throughout. You can get a feel for a decade based on trends. But while I would consider myself far from an expert, I’m educated enough to smash forward with confidence.

This is a ro furisode. Ro refers to the way that the silk is woven. If you look at the closer pictures, you’ll see a delicate sheer weave of skipped lines–little tiny holes woven into the fabric to keep the wearer cool. Every item in the summer ensemble would be woven similarly from the juban (undergarments) to the obi (big belt) to the obiage and obijime (ties to hold the obi in place.) And yet ironically, this kimono is actually a bit heavy because it has a second layer sewn in–you can kind of see it poking out in the collar there. It’s called a hiyoku, and lends to the decadence of this kimono.

It’s also very formal, adorned with five Fujiwara kamon (weeping wisteria crests). The pattern all over this one is a bunch of sweet summer flowers with books! Traditionally bound books! I haven’t encountered many ro furisode to begin with, and I haven’t found many furisode with books on them, either. It would make for an exciting find, if had had been expecting it to show up at my house to begin with!

The interesting story behind my ownership of this kimono has nothing to do with the thrilling find of a gem hidden behind the bad verbiage of a seller that doesn’t understand it. Ohh, no. I have plenty of those. But not this one. This one almost gave me a heart attack when it showed up because apparently I bought it while I was coming off of anesthesia, with a dose of Percocet in my system. The records show that I purchased it the day of, only but hours after I came home from my bilateral salpingectomy.

So, I open a package a few days into recovery, and out this kimono comes, to which I eloquently exclaimed:

“THE BLUE FUCK IS THIS?” As I am the image of the perfectly polite, refined lady, don’t-chya-fucking-know.

Then I realized what I must have done, and every muscle in my body clenched as I rushed to check to see how much I paid for it. There I was, grinding my molars while rehearsing my apology speech to my husband while I waited for my purchase history to load. Happily, I didn’t need to use aforementioned speech, so I don’t remember it. It’s hard to accurately describe the huge, dramatic sigh of relief that escaped me when saw I bought it domestically from someone who didn’t really understand what they had, and my high-as-fuck ass only paid $70 for it. Whoooo boy. There’s a moral to this story, I think.

Follow your dreams, I guess?

Anyway! It does have some mild condition issues. There is some fraying on the very bottom of the hem, but that was easy to get under control. It’s not shattering, I think that it’s friction damage. There are also some minor water spots on the sleeves, and a hint of fading just around the areas where the resist was originally placed to make these patterns. That’s actually pretty common for older kimono of this style. The fabric itself is in fantastic condition. This silk is soft. Stupid soft. It’s so soft, when you touch it, it’s just stupid. It has a sweet texture, and it is so cooling. I’m going to pretend I didn’t wrap myself in it and roll around like an idiot when I got it. And I’m going to pretend that when I didn’t do that, it was definitely because of the meds and not because I’m a big fucking nerd.

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