Thursday, 9th January, 2020

Kosode - Design of Mandarin Ducks and Waves on Black Figured Satin
(Kosode kurorinzuji nami oshidori moyou)

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This kimono was made in the latter half of the seventeenth century. The dynamic design on the back seems to depict ocean waves, fishing nets hanging out to dry, and even bamboo shoots, a Japanese symbol of spring. Brightly colored mandarin ducks cavort between them. Fishing nets symbolize a bountiful catch, while bamboo shoots represent growth and mandarin ducks denote marital bliss. Such a playful overlaying of symbols, leaving the onlooker wondering what the pattern really represents, was popular in those times. The garment was made in an era of peace when townspeople prospered and kimono fashion flourished, reaching new heights in Kyoto and Edo, the city that is now Tokyo. Many books containing pattern samples were published, and people would refer to them when ordering their own unique kimonos. The dynamic arc design of this kimono was typical of the patterns seen in those books.

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