The Kimono is the traditional Japanese garment for men, women, and children. The translation of the word, “Kimono,” (literally, “the thing worn”) does not come close to expressing the actual beauty of the garment itself. From the 8th through the 12th centuries, the Kimono achieved its status as the official costume of Japan.
Each of the essential elements in these rare antique Kimono revealed the wearer’s age, gender, status, and taste and was rigidly dictated by the rules of dress drawn up by the Shoguns (1603-1858). For example, the length of the Kimono sleeve indicates whether a woman is married or unmarried and it is closed across the right side never the left, as it is for men. These dress codes were so inflexible, that it would have been unthinkable for the styles of the adults not to be required of their children. Over time, a contest developed among the upper classes as to who could display the most elaborate designs or the works of the most famous artists. This ensured that the Kimono became an exquisite and highly prized heirloom to be treasured for generations, surviving as a living monument of Japan’s artistic past.