Restoration: Antique Hikifurisode

I want you to know, as I started writing this, that I have the pictures of the damage in a folder literally called “MessyAssHikiWhatever.” And when I made the decision to buy this, I actually knew I was in for some of this mess. But this particular seller posts a set number of pictures with every auction, and suffice to say that some of this mess was a surprise. If I gave two shits about the money, then I would tell you I spent too much on this. But it has a boat on it, so I needed it. What I do know, after inspecting this, is that I’ve saved my competition from a world of hurt that they were probably not prepared for.

So. Uh. You’re welcome?

Pictured: The other bidders

So without further delay, what even the fuck? This even the fuck:

The seller referred to it as a “hikizuri” which has a connotation among English only speaking kimono fans of being geisha related. I don’t feel like having this argument, so I won’t. At 170cm (that’s five foot six inches and a little over in Freedom Units™) it is probably not that in any context. It does however have a highly decorated hakkake, and a dummy thicc padded hem. They also referred to it as an antique, and I’ve got zero provenance. My inspection didn’t turn up any signatures, and it has a cream colored lining. I’d ballpark this in the 1930’s because I’m getting real fucking confident about shit like that. Fight me. I settled on hikifurisode because it is that, at least, at a glance.

You know, from this distance it really doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Like, oh, what a lovely piece. It’s so colorful and festive. Lonk and stronk.

Oh yeah, it is. It’s that. It’s a lot of things. You know what else it is?

It’s also fucking filthy. I don’t think anyone got into some hardcore mud wrestling with this on or anything. … … …no, it’s okay, I’ll give you a second to picture it… … …but fuck me gently with a chainsaw, this is going to be a chore.

This is a bundled nightmare of moisture damage, color run, fading, kinsai chipping, and just actual goddamn dirt. Fuuuuuuuuuuuck. Let’s have a look, yeah?

We’ll start with that kinsai chipping. Well, in some places it’s chipped. In some, it’s more like it was melted away. In others it’s more like something threatened it with a rusty spork bottle of acetone and it fucked right off. Have a peek:

As you see here, the gold has severely worn away. One of the major themes of this kimono is hot wetness in general kasumi (mist/haze), and like many highly formal pieces of its kind, that kasumi is decorate with a smattering of gold dust. In the last and second to last picture, you can see that it has been pretty severely fucked damaged. It’s decayed, and has even stained the silk around it. The are areas I can’t just restore by filling in blanks and cleaning up what’s there. I’m going to have to go nuclear. I’ll need to wipe it all out, clean the fabric, and then put down new.

The gold damage is so bad in places that it’s left certain design elements almost unidentifiable if I didn’t already have a reasonably strong understanding for what I’m looking at. Look at this shit.

Pictured: …the actual fuck…

I’m so happy that there’s two of those motherfuckers.

To make things more complicated, we have fairly significant color bleed. Hooray.

Most things that are white have bled into the silk elsewhere. Most things that are orange or red have bled into anything white. Speaking of:

Pictured: HNNNGGGG

What in the actual hell was this color supposed to be? Guess I’ll just make something up. Some of these spots can probably have the color bleed corrected with the right materials–but most likely what I’ll end up having to do is soak up what I can and then redraw the artwork in something of a pigment replacement exercise. That’s actually probably going to be the easiest thing to do on this whole thing.

Also there’s fading. Of course there is. And here’s how I feel about it:

Pictured: Calm, mature “I feel…” statements

There’s more of that, too.

-Ugly sobbing- Sometimes you can reverse fading to a point. That is absolutely not going to happen here. I’m going to have to mix pigment dyes to correct this. It’s not hard, there’s just so damn much of it.

And now, of course, let’s talk about the filth. First, this thing has a hiyoku, or a second layer in this context, sewn in. In this case, it’s actually kind of a fake one. It’s partial. I’m going to have to remove it from the kimono to do reductive bleaching on it, because let’s be frank: when it’s this fucking bad, I’m not going to piss around with vinegar.

Do you see that shit? That first picture? That’s mold spotting. So this fucker kimono doesn’t smell like anything, so this isn’t an active problem. But that gives me a pretty good idea what the source of all the dirt is. So picking all of those stitches and chucking this in the smelly bath is in my immediate future.

Then there’s the general grime all over.

I’m going to have to clean embroidery. Not that I’ve never done it before. I’m actually not that worried about the actual dirt part of this. Dirt is just dirt. And a lot of the beige area of the silk is the “natural” color of silk so I can be petty aggressive if I want to be.

And then, the sleeves need to be retailored, including a hole repair. Because of-goddamn-course they do.

And my final curiosity here is that the kamon on the front panels are two different colors:

And that about does it for my restoration list on this piece. I hope I give someone some sense of relief that they didn’t end up with this train wreck. Which isn’t to say that I don’t absolutely love doing this. Yeah, I complain a lot in this entry, but I’m actually over here like -shotgun chkchk- BRING IT.

Join me in another day or so when I introduce you to a real train wreck.


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