Restoration In Progress — Sho Chiku Bai & A Year In Review

So I started this blog on the 1st of January, 2021. And unless something bonkers happens that I just have to show you guys, this will be my last entry of the year. I started this just to do something that was completely self indulgent, and because I wanted for once in my life to unabashedly brandish some shit I fixed just for the lulz. I didn’t expect to close this year having made new friends, discovered new things, and with approaching 15k views.

I’m blown away by the emails I get, and the discussions I’ve had with people–especially on the Global Kimono group on Facebook where I link my tutorials. I literally didn’t imagine at all that anyone would be so interested. I am humbled. I am grateful. The universe is a bit on fire, but the warm fuzzies I have on the inside are from you. Thank you for sharing this experience with me. Let’s get weirder next year!

And with that out of the way, I bought this because I hated the seller pics but something inside me told me to buy it anyway. Now that is here, I’m mostly glad I did! But I’ve made some extra fucking work for myself, and I’m also having a bitch of a time trying to date this. I guess I could have taken it to dinner first.

This was advertised as a “kakeshita.” This is a women’s wedding kimono, mean to be worn beneath the uchikake (trailing overcoat), as the name actually suggests. Truthfully, I only most recently learned that there’s a difference between kakeshita and hikifurisode–and that the kurohikifurisode was, for the longest time, the more popular wedding dress is choice. It’s worth mentioning that depending on the wedding ceremony, the bride may change outfits a few times. It sounds exhausting, but it sure was hell explains how there are so damn many “wedding” kimono options.

I actually also learned that not only is there a difference in these garments, but that I also had already vastly preferred hikifurisode to kakeshita. Mostly because kakeshita tend to be weird, gaudy, flower barf kimono that I’m just not into. Which isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate the art and skill that goes into making them.

So anyway, there I was, going “ugh. It’s so dingey” as I smashed that bid button because my reason for buying it was actually quite simple: I’m an absolute fucking sucker for Sho-Chiku-Bai. For those who have come here to learn–AHAHAHAHAHA–that’s more than just a brand of booze. It’s the name for a pattern including the combination of ume (plum blossoms), matsu (pine), and sasa (bamboo). This combination is very often seen around New Years! So guess why the fuck we’re talking about it today. Gueeeeeesssss.

When it got here, I realized I was wrong as fuck about it being dingey. Fucking look at this.

Bling bling, motherfuckers.

But that doesn’t mean that it is in great condition, and I knew that when I bought it. Let’s have a look at the damage, shall we? We’ll start with the regular foxing and what are probably sweat stains. This thing weighs an absolute ton, so it was probably hot as shit to wear.

And there’s a tiny bit of resewing that needs to be done above the sleeve on that last picture, because of fucking course there is.

The primary repair to this piece is going to be to the kinsai (gold leaf paint). You know, because I simply do not have enough pieces that need this. But this piece is shiny as hell, and it needs some love in the shiny department. Behold:

Those are my best examples, but it’s like this all over.

Also, two, and just two, of the tsuru (cranes) do not have eyes, and I intend to rectify this. Maybe they want to steal my blood at night like the last ones. That one has a new home, the fuck away from me, by the way.

Pictured: AWW HELL NAH

And you can see the kinsai around them has chipped away, too.

Speaking of chipping kinsai, we have a major smudge on the sleeve. I’ll have to hit that with a solvent. Honestly? Probably acetone.

Pictured: bwop

Here’s some weird shit, this piece has five kamon (family crests), but they legitimately look stamped on. I wonder about that.

Pictured: …’kaaay.

Also that’s not a hole under my thumbnail there. It’s a blob of something. I’ll figure it out.

And the other weirdness is less a weirdness than just a thing that exists, it was patched on the inside. This kimono has a full white layer sewn in, and it’s been patched. I’m probably going to pop it up just to see the damage under it. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do anything about it.

Pictured: -Noises-

I’m more concerned about the stain on the patch than I am with the patch itself. It’s in a place where is virtually invisible when worn.

And there’s nothing wrong with these pinecones, I just really wanted to show them to you.

Honestly, it’s the embroidery that gives me so much trouble as I try to date it. I got zero provenance from the seller, so I’m on my own. The kamon aren’t particularly large, but honestly I wouldn’t pay them much credence if they were. Once you’ve handled enough of these things, you get a feel for dye work and such across the decades, and I don’t think I would date this piece any older than the 1950’s. It has that rigidity to it that former rental pieces have, but it also has a great old style taste to it as well. So I’m thinking middle Showa Era.

Join me next year, as my flesh prison wrist has started to turn the corner, and I’ll be finishing up few of my restorations to show off. Thank you again, all of you, for hanging out with me while I ramble wildly into the internet. I am a fortunate person.


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