Taisho Furisode–Cranes & Pine

Cranes In Flight Over Soft Glowing Pine And Ivy On Black Silk.

This is a rather recent addition to my collection. It was meant to be another potential project, as I had purchased it domestically and the seller photos were a bit vague. So I was prepared for weirdness, but actually she’s in really good shape! It showed up a touch wrinkled–which is common because sellers like to jam them in USPS flat rate boxes–but otherwise basically intact.

I had to address a small line of fading on the back of the left sleeve and the right side back panel. I use a special mixture of pigment to do this, and layer it until the fading is largely invisible. After that, it just needed a bit of cleaning. A smudge of something here, a crust of whatever there, and she was all clean. The black silk shell of this furisode is unbelievably smooth and soft. It feels so luxurious. When I was done ironing and cleaning, I just kinda…held this one for a bit to feel it and study it because wow. Just wow.

A solidly Taisho Era piece (so 1920s-ish), she boasts a vibrant, near flawless red lining. There are five Tsuta kamon (ivy crests), and the two in front are surrounded by little flocks of cranes in flight. Woven between the cranes are soft, glittering strands of gold thread, which I had missed entirely until I had cleaned the kimono. They shimmer in the light so delicately, but they are an absolute pain in the ass to photograph. These threads are present throughout the designs. The amount of sharp details on this piece are just fascinating. Even the strips of silk just inside of the sleeves are decorated, rather than just the red lining peeking through. I don’t know if that has a special significance, but I do know that not every furisode I encounter has that detail. (Sometimes these things are hard to look up when you’re not even sure how you’d ask the damn question in the first place, ya know?)

The sleeves and skirt are adorned with matsu (pine), tsuta (ivy), and tsuru (cranes) in flight on a kasumi (hazy) backdrop. It feels late spring to me, but as an awase (fully lined) kimono, it’s a bit heavy for summer. I mean, technically–it feels very light to the touch, though. As I mentioned before, the fabric is just a joy to touch. Therefore, since this furisode is in such excellent shape, with no signs of fabric wear or weakening, I think it would be an absolute crime not to wear it eventually. So now I have to pair it with some items.

This turns out to be one of my least interesting purchases insofar as necessary repairs and restoration goes. There just wasn’t very much for me to do with it. On the other hand, it’s impossible not to be excited to have such an old and perfect example of one of these beautiful, formal kimono in my possession. Yeah, I just typed that out like I’m not actively in the middle of replacing my dressers because I’m literally out of room for kimonos in the ones that I have or anything.

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