Antique Kimono–Midnight Summer

Delicate Blue And Purple Blooms With Lush Green Foliage On Sheer Midnight Silk.

I didn’t really intend to buy this one when I threw it on my watch list. It’s not an item in need of restoration or repair of any kind, and in truth I gueesss I don’t really need another summer kimono. Then the seller did that thing where they make an offer to their watchers, and ugh. UGH. It was suddenly a good price and I needed it. Fight me.

So! I don’t have any provenance on this kimono other than “antique.” Between the vertical ro (spaces in the weave of the silk that give it “lines” on summer kimono), the goddamn fantastic gradients between the colors in the foliage and the flowers, the texture, and the gloriously long sleeves: I will rip my torso open and eat my own kidneys if this isn’t a pre-WWII kimono.

If I eat my kidneys, what will filter my blood from the fuckery my body will endure from eating my own kidneys? Will I qualify for a kidney transplant if I eat my own kidneys? Will my liver cower in fear of my terrifying resolve, convinced that it’s next? Are there better ways to assert dominance over my organs? And where the fuck did I leave my keys?

These are the things I think of in the night.

One of the weird things that attracted me to this kimono was that even though it’s a summer kimono, it has a design on the hakkake (lower lining). This raises a few questions about how it was supposed to be worn. It’s only about 150cm (about 5 feet) long, which makes it about normal for its age as a tsukesage (semi-formal kimono with discontinuous pattern). So one would think that the delightful flowing water pattern on the hakkake would never be seen, except flashes when three wearer is walking.

I learned that it was dark, navy blue when it arrived. I’m not at all disappointed, but I actually couldn’t quite tell what color it was in the listing, and if the seller described it, theeeennn I’m a blind motherfucker because I didn’t see it. But a blooming garden at night makes for a great background for the insanity that is about to unfold.

I had a really strange time figuring out these flowers. Not all of them, of course. I’m actually pretty good at flowers. But watch as I lose my goddamn mind over these. Behold!

I had a hell of a time trying to figure out just what in the absolute fuck these are:

Pictured: …nani the fuck?

I’ve seen a plant like this before. I know it. And to be honest, it’s pretty sus…

I enlisted the help of my friend Roza, whose brainstorming was more helpful than she might know. It was the leaves that kept me feeling threatened. I ruled out campanula because it’s not that tubular. I also ruled out “Stupid Liatris and Fuck-you Larkspur had a baby and named it Longboi.” That seems unrealistic.

Also. Those leaves want me dead. I’m sure of it.

…digitalis? No. Those are a cluster and not a stem. Also, tubes.


Iochroma! A member of the nightshade family, the whole goddamn plant is toxic. So don’t eat it! I also have no idea what “Iochroma” is in Japanese, as I think this is my first time encountering it on a kimono. Hell, it might actually be the first time I’ve ever encountered it in art form and not just as a plant. I’m kind of surprised to see it.

Interesting that such a toxic plant is on the right panel. Not necessarily that I think the original artist had any intentions. There is not likely any higher meaning. I personally just got a giggle out of it.

This kimono is putting my flower knowledge to the fucking test, let me tell you. I worked in a flower shop and then a floral distribution center in college, and I learned a lot. But daayum.

Here we have an easy one. Ran (orchid).

Pictured: I ran so far awa~ay.

Specifically, I would say that it is a artist’s interpretation of a Japanese Hyacinth Orchid. Once again, it’s the leaves that give it away. This one doesn’t want anyone dead. Give me my happy chemical, brain. I got one.

Next we have this fucker beauty, and it was a mystery to me, too. To me, it looked like SEVERAL different flowers.

Pictured: The vein in my forehead.

And then this happened:

Pictured: Serious academic discussion.

So hyotan! Or, a gourd blossom. -Sharp inhale- OH MY GOURD.

I’m not sorry. Moving on.

Pictured: -Ugly sobbing-

Hagi (bush clover). That one is common, and I know it well. It’s actually a favorite.

Well, now that I’m at the end of this blog post and I’ve had my ass handed to me by flowers delicately painted into a beautiful antique kimono. I hope it was as fun for you to read as it was for me to grind my molars and scream “WHAT ARE YOU?!” at silk until Roza helped me.

So here we are. A delightful brain exercise in the form of an antique tsukesage, adorned with flowers that are future food, will straight up kill you, are just pretty, and one embroidered kiri (Paulownia) kamon (family crest).


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