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Kosode with Alternating Blocks of Flowers and Plants
Important Cultural Property
Length: 132.5cm; Width at shoulder: 117.0cm
Kyoto National Museum
The back of this kosode (predecessor to the modern-day kimono) is divided into quadrants filled with motifs of the four seasons: plum blossoms for spring, wisteria for summer, maple leaves for autumn, and snow-laden bamboo for winter. Textual sources from the Muromachi period tell us that the backside of a kosode might be divided into alternating blocks of eight or sixteen, by which principle this piece could be categorized as a four-block kosode. The lively, stylized designs are executed in long, lustrous floats characteristic of Muromachi- and Momoyama-period embroidery. Also typical of nuihaku (kosode with embroidery and metallic foil) from this time are the sudden, unnatural color changes midway through motifs, as well as the irregular application of gold and silver foil on the exposed ground weave surrounding the embroidered designs.