Some of the most rare and unusual Japanese textiles to survive into the 20th Century are examples of works of art created as Wedding Collars. For added adornment, upper class Japanese women would create these one of a kind pieces of art which would then be attached to the leading edge of the Wedding Kimono. It is very rare for both sides of the Collar to remain in good condition to create a set like this one.
The design symbolizes all the elements that a Bride would desire be fulfilled during her marriage: the open Fan (“Sensu”), signifying an open future; the stylized Pine (Matsu”), imparting longevity to the marriage and the partners; Bamboo (“Take”) for good fortune, strength and resiliency; Chrysanthemum (“Kiku”), for an association with the Imperial Family; Plum (“Ume”), as a harbinger of better times to come; and the beautifully decorated Game Box which could very well hold the pieces of one of Old Japan’s most famous pastimes, the Shell Games (“Kaiawase”) intended to fill the quiet months of winter with recreation for the Bride (“Hanayome”) and Groom (“Hanamuko”). Free style patterns based on natural phenomena are often the most recognizable as being distinctly Japanese, as their reverence for nature is part of their heritage and traditional Shinto Religion.
Adding further significance to this wonderful patterned medley is the combination of three of the individual designs which together are called the “Three Friends of Winter:” the Bamboo (“Take”), the Pine tree (“Matsu”), and the Plum blossoms (“Ume”) represent the qualities most desirable in a bride: charm and innocence, resilience and rectitude, and longevity and good fortune for the future. It also indicates that this wedding took place during the winter season.
The fine hand woven Silk in winter white with the unusual light pink accents is a delicate rendition of a Bride’s Wedding Collar. She has further enhanced it by adding Pure Yellow Gold Couching. “Couched,” pure Gold thread was made by first painting a layer of liquid Gold on thin handmade paper, and then wrapping it around several threads of Silk. Because of its delicacy, it could not be sewn into the fabric; but was, instead, laid on top, and then hand stitched to it.
It is very unusual to find hand worked Kimono Wedding Collars from this period in good condition, as the majority were so badly soiled from the bride’s cosmetics that they have disintegrated over time. In addition to enjoying the beauty of this delicately designed Wedding Collar, it also preserves for history, an intriguing glimpse of courtly marriage rituals from Japan’s past.
A Certificate of Authenticity is included.
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