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DESCRIPTION: The extremely fine threads, beautiful weaving and imaginative patterns in Okinawan Silk Pongee or "Tsumugi" are unrivaled in the exquisite quality of this informal, fully reversible man's topcoat that has been sewn completely by hand both inside and out. In ancient Okinawa, to envelop your body with a woven cloth represented your desire to embrace and to protect the sacred spirit concealed within the body. Thus, this Haori was much more than a protective covering. This fabulous Silk is also referred to as "Oshima Silk," and was greatly prized and extraordinarily expensive, as it required a year's work for the weaving of one garment. It is still very highly prized.
What makes the Haori for men so intriguing, however, is the fact that the main source of decoration is on the inside of the garment (shown left), or the lining. This is a very intricate hand painted design, identified and bearing the seal of the artist, that incorporates numerous symbols of good fortune. The fabulous Treasure Ship design ("Takarabune") was created through the “Rice Paste Resist” technique of painting and was one of Japan's most favored subjects. Carried on the Ship are 10 precious objects all of which are associated with the attainment of a happy marriage. Among the wishes symbolized are succulent fruit, fragrant blossoms to purify the air, a mallet of good fortune and a money bag to produce great wealth. The celebratory sheaf of rice is among one of Asia's most auspicious and religious motifs as it is considered the staff of life and associated with post offerings to the gods of fortune. It is attached to the bamboo rake, as is the picture of Ama no Uzume no Mikoto, Goddess of Mirth, who helped to get Amaterasu out of the cave into which she had retired and thereby restored the Sun to Japan. This usually occurs on the festival of the Tori no Machi held at 3 famous Shrines. As a famous No mask, she sports puffed out cheeks, small mouth, narrow forehead with 2 ornamental black spots, the hair brought in 2 bandeaux over the temples and an always smiling face.
Only a member of a family of wealth and high status could have worn a garment of this quality for informal use.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: Informal Haori or topcoat
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Early Meiji Era (1868 - 1911)
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: Hand woven Tsumugi Silk outer garment with finely hand woven lining that has been hand dyed and painted in the Rice Paste Resist technique. This process required that each color be applied separately, while all the others were painted out in the rice paste. Each time a new color was added, the rice paste had to be removed by soaking it out over and over again in the local river water and then reapplied. This sophisticated Haori is in excellent condition.
PRESENTATION: To hand as a display or work of art, or to wear (perhaps with the inside panel on the outside) for a very formal or elegant occasion.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
TTAC will personally pack and ship via UPS at company expense within the continental U.S.