Black awase bashi eri kimono of the komon type with a continuous red pattern of ume, tsubaki and kiku motifs.
Dress Length: 143 cm | 56.3"
Sleeve Length: 32 cm | 12.6"
Shoulder to Shoulder: 65 cm | 25.6"
Handmande in Japan
Exterior 100% cotton
Lining 100% cotton
Awase is a lined kimono, exclusively worn between October and May (from Autumn to Spring in Japan). In bachi eri, the collar is folded and sewn down to the body, extending naturally towards the erisaki (the bottom of the collar). It is called bachi eri because its shape is like bachi, the stick used to play the samisen (a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument derived from the Chinese instrument sanxian).
Komon is an informal kimono whose pattern repeats throughout the piece and often incorporates vertical stripes. Originally used as casual clothing, it is nowadays very rare since, with the westernization of clothing in Japan and the disuse of kimonos as a day-to-day wear, tailors have virtually ceased to produce it.
Hanakotoba is the Japanese form of the language of flowers. The Japanese have a long tradition of associating meanings to flowers, and they have influenced numerous aspects of their culture from kimono to war. Flowers such as the sakura (cherry blossom) and kiku (chrysanthemum) are national symbols of Japan. Such flowers have the power to invoke powerful emotions and they are engaged in the people's thinking. Beyond these national symbols, others have more subtle meanings. In Japan, they are a traditional gift for both men and women, and are often used to convey what can't be spoken. Even nowadays, flower meanings make occasional appearances in modern popular culture such as manga and anime.
Ume is the plum blossom. Because plum trees bloom in winter, there is a saying that "the plum is the first among flowers". Prior to the Nara period (710-94), the word "flower" generally indicated the plum blossom, and in the Man'yoshu, an eight-century anthology of Japanese poetry, there are more verses about plum blossoms than cherry blossoms. A cherry tree now stands to the left of the Hall for State Ceremonies at the Imperal Palace, but originally a plum tree stood there and remained until after the Heian period (794-1185). In the Legend of the Flying Plum Tree, the cherry tree withers and dies after its master, Sugawara, leaves, but the plum and pine trees fly through the sky to be with him. However, the pine tree loses strength and falls to the earth in Settsu Province. Only the plum tree miraculously continues its flight and in a single day and night arrives at Daizaifu where its master resides and where it takes root. Ume is commonly associated with luck, nobility, purity, devotion and protection against evil.
Kiku (chrysanthemum) represents longevity and rejuvenation. When first introduced in Japan during the Nara Period (ad 710–784), the Japanese royal family was fascinated with the flower. Eventually, during the passing of the years, the chrysanthemum became the imperial family emblem. Even now, it is used as the imperial symbol of Japan and figures on the Japanese passport. No plant is used in such a multitude of patterns as the chrysanthemum. Patterns showing this flower are called kikukamon; designs depicting chrysanthemum attached to stems are known as oriedakiku and flowers standing upright are called tatekikumon. A design in which chrysanthemums are rendered along with flowing water is called kikusui; teamed with a fence, the design is called kikumagaki. There is also much variation in terms of the flowers themselves, from the type whose petals are long and dishevelled, known as rangiku, to the round, extremely abstract kind which appear in works by the artist Kourin Ogata and are called kouringiku. The leaves of the chrysanthemums are on ovoid shape with jagged edges and appear in patterns in the form of rippled lines. The Chrysanthemum Festival, or Choyo or Kikuno-Sekku, is celebrated on the ninth month in the lunar calendar. It is an old Chinese custom that made its way to Japan and was adopted mainly at court. On that day, activities included drinking saké with chrysanthemum petals floating in it and wearing cotton that has been placed on top of the flowers overnight to soak up their dew. Drinking chrysanthemum saké was believed to ward off malevolence and ensure a long life.
Tsubaki (camellia flower) is one of the most popular Japanese patterns and has different meanings depending on the color: red flowers symbolize love and white ones show longing. The character for camellia originated in Japan and consists of a combination of the characters for "spring" and "tree", revealing the deep Japanese attachment to the camellia whose flowers most evoke the feeling of spring. In ancient times, it was thought to be a sacred tree with mystical powers. The eight-century Nihon Shoki or Nihongi, the second oldest book of classical Japanses history after the Kokiji records the story of how Emperor Keiko used a stick made from camellia wood to conquer local tribes. From the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the camellia finally gained appreciation as a flowering tree, while in the following Muromachi and Momoyama periods it came to be used as a subject in works of art and craft. However, it was during the Edo period (1615-1868) that the camellia reached its peak. Hidegata, the second shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty, planted a flower garden in the Fukiage palace and was presented with camellias by various provincial personages, sparking a craze for camellias which led to townspeople planting them in their own gardens. During the Edo perido, various inventories, including Hyakuchinzu (One Hundred Camellias) by Kano Sanraku, were produced and advances were made in their cultivation and hybridization. Splendid when used as a pattern on kimono or obi, camellias lend a feeling of warmth when used on haori jackets, giving the impression that spring has arrived on the exact spot they are decorating.