Restoration In Progress–Meiji Era Iko

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I bought myself a proper kimono stand. If I’m going to pretend to take this blog very seriously, then I should have one, right? I built one for myself awhile ago using some raw materials and by modifying an existing clothes hanger, and I was and still am pretty proud of it. But I’d never done something like that before, and I fell victim to my own whimsical fuckery, and my completely unapologetic and unlearning “I’ma eyeball it” to shit I absolutely should not eyeball. So, suffice to say that while it looks nice at a glance, my current kimono stand is a little jank. I apologize for nothing.

Pictured: Jim the shark having some opinions he needs to keep to his goddamn self.

But then this one crossed my path. This glorious, legit iko (kimono display stand), direct from Gifu, Japan, originally constructed in the late 1890’s. Solidly in the Meiji Era. I think what made my heart explode when I saw it was that it needed some love. And there is actually a far difference between “I’MA BUILD THIS” Becky and “I will gently and painstakingly repair this” Becky, so there will be no eyeballing it here.

Because I’m still getting used to the idea that I should document things before I get to work, so most of these are actually the seller photos. I would like to take a moment to point out that in no way am I associated with any sellers, and I don’t make any money off of this blog. This is all for the lulz, my friends. You get information, my feckless screeching, and pretty kimono pictures all for free. And I don’t have any intentions to monetize. It feels like a good idea to point that out sometimes.

With that out of the way, let’s have a look see, yes?

Pictured: Are my pants getting tight in here or is it just that?

I barely had a look at any details before I made a decision. Party hard.

Pictured: Literally me.

Sometimes I don’t have to think about something for very long before I purchase it with extreme prejudice.

Now let’s get on to the damage and issues. This is a lacquered item, so handling it will be different than some of the other things I’ve done, but I do have someone special hand-holding me through it. I would love to credit them, but they explicitly requested not to be named, and I ain’t no goddamn snitch. So lets see some damage, shall we? We’re gonna start with the feet.

So we’ve got a little bit of moisture damage, a bit of sun damage, some cracking, some chipping, and some rubbing. As far as the actual wood goes, what’s here is healthy and in good shape. I’ve got a good plan of attack here.

Now let’s see the body.

It looks worse than it is. A huge amount of these are superficial scratches and, in fact, just dirt. Plain-ass dirt. I’ve already given it a gentle wash with just warm water and mild soap, and a great deal of it came away clean. Most of the scratches are going to buff out, no problem. As far as the chips and gouges, I’ll have to handle those one at a time and blend them in. I might literally go insane doing it, but that sounds like a party I want to be invited to, and it’s my party, so here the fuck we are!

Now to some fine details!

We’ve got gold on the ends of the topmost bar and flourishes where all of the joints meet, and here’ something I discovered when I was washing those joints:

See the glimmers inside of the patterns? They were probably maki-e (gold dust art) or otherwise painted in gold. So guess what the fuck I get to put back. I mean…I am very excited to have the opportunity to restore the beautiful gold painting on this iko, and I definitely didn’t mean anything else, nor did I curse at it violently because I am a well adjusted adult human.

So far, things are going very well! Pardon the crap all over the joint up there, because I hadn’t wiped away the actual sludge yet, and took the picture anyway. This is because I think “fuck, shit, crap, god dammit I haven’t taken any progress shots of this yet and I’m supposed to be doing that” like literally any normal person would do, and then I take pictures immediately.

So very soon, I will be retiring my home-brew kimono stand. I haven’t decided what I want to do with it yet. I have made the decision that I will not be taking photos of more kimonos until this stand is ready. And although it seems like there’s a lot to do, I’ve actually already made a lot progress and I expect it’ll be done rather quickly. Not that I’m rushing–that would be stupid.

I’m out of stuff to say about it now.


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