Even though you’d think that after eleven months I’d have literally any sense of discipline, I bought this, got to work on it, and said nothing about it. I took a few pictures and gushed about it with friends, but I didn’t mention it literally anywhere else that matters and there’s actually a few reasons for that. Yes, yes, one of them is that I’m horrifyingly lazy and tend to just do things without talking about them.
The other reasons are because the circumstances under which I acquired this furisode are nuts. I felt that it was very important to me to both gush about the facts around this acquisition and be cautious and respectful to the sellers and such.
There I was, just scrolling through my normal searches with nothing misspelled or weird when I’m on -shotgun chkchk- the hunt. And about three items into my list, there she was. When I laid eyes on her, I sprayed water all over the place and then started scream cursing as I smashed the Buy It Now button with my entire being.
My husband calls this behavior “A bit alarming.” He’s not wrong.
So why the crazy reaction?
Hi, have you fucking met me? Because this is a twin!
And it’s not just any twin! It’s a twin for a kimono that’s been on my watch list on Etsy for a quite time. And although I’ve marked out seller names and prices, suffice to say that the one I acquired was a metric fuck ton cheaper than the one I’ve been watching on Etsy. But I marked it out because while significant, it’s not exactly the point. And that’s not all. Here, let’s take a peek.
Right off the bat, I note that the Etsy seller has this marked as a 1910-20 piece. That would suggest that it’s late Meiji to early Taisho. I disagree. Whole certainly an antique, I would put this late Taisho at the very earliest. Honestly it seems more like a 1930’s piece to me. I would place it early Showa. But I gave been given zero provenance on this piece, so it’s all an inspired guess.
On the one hand, I do think the Etsy seller probably knows more than I do overall. On the other, I know an awful lot, too, and I’m not trying to make a buck. If you end up finding the furisode on Etsy on your own and seeing what that seller has to offer, you could see why I say this. This is not at all a sideswipe at them.
There are some differences in my piece vs. the Etsy one. One was something I noticed right away. Lemme play this out for you. Here’s a seller photo:
See that? My drawing on the screenshot I took, and I need you to imagine a loud “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE” sound while you look at it, or you won’t get the full effect of my reaction.
That’s because the Etsy piece that I’d been coveting looks like this on the inside:
So… Do you see it?
The Etsy one is missing the lining and the hakkake (inner lower skirt lining, often decorated).
The eBay seller’s pictures did not include photos of the inside of the furisode. My fucking eagle eyes caught the red at the bottom of the furisode. That means that unlike the Etsy one, this one had at least a partially intact hakkake. And if you remember the photos at the very top of this entry, then you already know the answer to that mystery.
My hakkake is present, and the lining is fully intact. FUCK YEAH.
But if mine is intact, then what am I working on? Well you see, my whole life is fucking kinsai repair. And this one needs it, literally everywhere, because everything is gilded and it’s all chipping off. My best guess is that someone attempted to iron this without knowing how to approach kinsai. The conventional wisdom that’s out there and searchable will tell you not to attempt to iron kinsai, and there’s damn good reason for this.
If I’m being a pedantic twat, and I literally always am, then actually you can. But it’s not like you slam the kimono on an ironing board and go to town. You have to approach it weirdly, and preferably without a clothes iron. But if you fuck it up, you can expect this shit:
And this is happening all. Over. It. So what have I decided to do about this? Well, I’m legitimately out of my mind, so I’m equipped with a pair of tweezers, acetone, a fucking heat gun, and my own blend of gold leaf and binder. I’m going to clean up, reseat, and preserve what’s here, then fill in what’s missing because I fucking hate myself.
And how is it going?
Pretty well. There’s just a lot of it.
The gold in the red has been replaced, and the gold in the green has been cleaned and primed. Literally every inch of this kimono has kinsai that needs either sealed or replaced.
Kill me. Why did I choose this life?
There are also a few stains to be removed. Nothing remarkable. Mostly smudges.
ANYWAY. Join me in a few days where I’ll have a new stain removal tutorial ready. I’m just being very particular with that one, because it requires precision, and therefore my classic strings of hard R expletives need to be done in ways that are sensical, or otherwise ommited. That’s harder than it sounds.