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DESCRIPTION: This is an outstanding example of the highest quality, Informal Man’s topcoat or “Haori.” It is black on the outer layer of the garment and has been specially hand woven in textured (“Hina Ori”) Silk, fully reversible, and has been sewn completely by hand both inside and out. The outer Silk is a hard-edged, dense weave that appears shiny in changing light. Both layers are in excellent condition, and date from before the turn of the century. This garment represents the height of informal wear for Japanese men and was obviously specially ordered for a rich and high ranking Samurai, or merchant, as the center back Crest (“Mon”) is not painted on the original Silk but is woven in the piece itself. The only indication that this was a garment that the individual would have worn at home or at informal occasions is the appearance of one, rather than three or five, crests on the outside of the garment.
What makes the Haori for men so intriguing is the fact that the main source of decoration is on the inside of the back panel or lining. It is this lining that determines the status of the man wearing the garment. The more intricate the Silk weaving, especially with the inclusion of the written language, the wealthier the individual who commissioned it. The inner back panel of this dramatic Haori has been woven in an intricate, and dramatic scene dominated by the large central Pine or “Matsu” which symbolized long life. The Moon in the background has been woven in pure white gold threads. Surrounding the central motif are 3 fan insets with elaborate designs that include Kanji characters. This magnificent weaving would have taken a Master Artisan much time and skill to complete.
The family crest or “Mon” is based on the Chrysanthemum (“Kiku”). Because of its ascribed nobility and purity, it was known as one of the “4 princes” among subjects of art. It was also known as the “longevity plant” (reinforcing the theme of the inner weaving) as it was associated with Kusunoki Masashige, the emperor Godaigo’s masterful General. By the 13th century, the Chrysanthemum was associated with the Imperial Line and is still considered the Crest of the Royal Family.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
TYPE TEXTILE: Haori or Informal Man’s Topcoat with a single hand embroidered Crest
APPROXIMATE DATE OR PERIOD: Meiji Era (1868 – 1911)
FABRIC CONTENT and CONDITION: The extremely fine threads, beautiful weaving, and imaginative patterns in Okinawan Silk “Kasuri Ori” are unrivaled in the exquisite quality of its weaving. 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, before the development of any aesthetic or social significance; it also expressed a religious belief. The hand-woven “Kasuri” Silk weave is distinguished by Silk fibers that have been tied with string in predetermined areas dictated by the desired design, then immersed in a natural dye. Combining the iron rich soil of Kume Island with the natural colors of Okinawan plants produced the famed deep black brown colors of Oshima; which, alone, created many of the other variations in natural dyes. Kasuri motifs range from several inches in width and height to only a fraction of an inch. This fine fabric is greatly prized and extraordinarily expensive today, as it required a year’s work for the weaving of one garment. Oshima Island lies in Kagoshima Prefecture in the Okinawan chain of islands
PRESENTATION: To hang as a display or work of art, or to wear (perhaps with the inside panel on the outside) for a very formal occasion
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
TTAC will personally pack and ship via UPS at company expense within the continental U.S.