Antique Kimono–Hazy Spring Pheasant

Bright Plumage Of A Roosting Pheasant With Vibrant Blooms And Gold Haze On Black Silk.

So yeah, you ever just straight up forget you own something? I did. Here it is. And it came with the joy of feeling like I was seeing it for the first time all over again. Of course, after I saw it, my stupid ass remembered buying it now for the low-low price of what came out to be $60ish USD, but from a cute little boutique on eBay based in the UK. This was in the Before Times™ when shipping across the pond wasn’t actually that expensive. I had the same reaction to it now as I did then:


What can I say? I like sassy birbs. And this one is making a face like “…the fuck did you just wake me up for?”

Although my big dumb idiot brain managed to wipe this piece from my memory entirely until it was right in front of me again, staring at it has managed to drag up the fact that it came to me with what I could only describe as “hard water” stains on the back of it. If you ever see some kind of weird chalky splotch on your kimono, there’s two things it could be. It’s either hard water, or jizz. Do not. Lick it. To find out. In both cases, you can basically scrape it off with a thumbnail. And then you can soak your thumb in 99 electronics grade isopropyl alcohol for like a hour just in case it’s not fucking clean.

I’m kidding. Do not dunk your hand in 99 electronics grade isopropyl alcohol. Especially not for an hour. Just do not.

This kimono is quite old, but I think it qualifies as a houmongi (semi-formal women’s kimono). I would call this an antique as opposed to assigning it a particular era because the boutique I bought it from didn’t have much in the way of provenance on it. It bears no kamon (family crests), so I can’t measure those to get a ballpark. It also has a white lining on the body, but red linings on the sleeves. From the style of the dye, I get the impression that this kimono is Pre-WII. As I’ve mentioned before, red linings fell out of fashion with the war, so typically those kimono that have them are safely considered to be Pre-WII.

Oh yeah, and it also has these! I don’t see these on every kimono, but I do tend to see them on older ones:

Pictured: Saving me work.

Usually I see these on things like uchikake, and while I don’t know if they have an official name, I do know that they act as a support for the sleeves. I like them, because one of the most common repairs I have to do on kimono are to where the sleeves attach to the shoulder at the armpit. When I see loose strings on on the armpit area on a kimono I’m inspecting, I say things like, “…aaaaand of fucking course this.”

The fabric is most certainly silk, as it passes the burn test. And it is also incredibly fluid feeling. It’s so soft and smooth that I want to jam it in peoples faces and screech at them to touch it. It’s also just…so picturesque. A pheasant getting ready to sleep in the last light of day, while ume (plum blossoms) and kiku (chrysanthemums) are coming into bloom. In the coming dark, a soft humidity reflecting the color of sunset. On this kimono, the gold dust applied is meant to be kasumi (haze). The end of winter, and the promise of warmer days ahead.

Incidentally, tonight in the Southwestern Chicago suburbs, it has been incredibly stormy and unseasonably warm. It’s fucking December. Yeah, that’s normal. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

This is going to be a very short entry, and it’s not because I don’t love this kimono, or don’t have much to say anything about it. It’s because I’ve rather severely sprained my right wrist, and therefore typing, sewing, drawing, cleaning anything is just not a fun time right now. -Ugly sobbing- And so my next few entries while this heals up will be showcases and ramblings. You know, your favorite!

Wrapping Christmas presents like this has been a special kind of insanity. You should see my handwriting on the tags. They’d probably be neater if I shoved the sharpie up my ass and ballparked it with a crab walk. Ugh.


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