Unlined Summer Kimono (Hito-e) with Carp, Water Lilies, and Morning Glories

Period: Meiji period (1868–1912)

Date: ca. 1876

Culture: Japan

Medium: Resist-dyed, painted, and embroidered silk gauze with plain-weave patterning

Dimensions: Overall: 59 7/16 x 49 1/16 in. (151 x 124.6 cm)

Classification: Costumes

Credit Line: Gift of Naoki Nomura, 2006

Accession Number: 2006.73.2


Clothing worn for rites of passage is often treasured and saved. This kimono was worn by Naoki Nomura's grandmother, one of four generations of female textile artisans in Kyoto, during her thirteenth year, in about 1876. The occasion was her jusan mairi (literally, thirteenth temple visit), her final visit as a child to Arashiyama Horinji, a temple in Saga, Kyoto. The jusan mairi, which involves the blessing of young people as they enter adolescence, is sometimes practiced today, and Horinji, located in the scenic Arashiyama district west of the city of Kyoto, still welcomes more than 20,000 participants every year.

The vivacious and youthful pattern and the high quality of the textile workmanship distinguish this kimono. A pond with carp and water lilies decorates the lower part, and morning glories bloom at the shoulders. The early summer scene is set on a blue and white background of silk gauze subtly patterned in the weave with fantailed goldfish in water.