Karinui Comparisons, part 2

In part 1 I disassembled an inexpensive kurotomesode (high formal women’s kimono) and gave you a peek at the inner workings, so to speak. This time we’ll be looking at a more expensive kimono and seeing how different the two can be.

Part 2: The Hot Date

Unlike the pretty, fast, and easy Cheap Date, this kimono has some hidden charms and plenty of class. This is another kurotomesode, solid black with five white circles reserved for family crests and a colorful design along the bottom hem. On the surface it appears similar the previous kimono, but that’s about to change. karinui_151551 First, this one has a woven design, not just a dyed one. This is not terribly common, so already she stands out among the crowd. The woven details are charming, especially when you consider that no one would be down on hands and knees looking at the hem of this kimono while it is worn in public. At least I hope not. That would be rude. karinui_1515.1Heian era scene shows a garden, boats on the water, a daimyo‘s procession his castle. karinui_1515.10 Click on any of the images to see a closer view. karinui_1515.11 Subltle woven details shift to bold red waves splashed with gold. karinui_1515.13 Look at the amazing detail on the horse and rider! Keep in mind this detail is less than two inches tall. karinui_1515.7 And here is what it looks like from the back. karinui_1515.8 Delicate brush strokes in pink accentuate a peaceful sky above the woven scenery. karinui_1515.12

A bit of design overlap.karinui_1515.4 One of the things about this kimono that makes it a work of art is how even the inner lining is dyed to match the outer. This is more typical in kimono of a century ago or older, but it is not done as often in today’s formal kimono. karinui_1515.9 All of the woven designs go to the selvedge, but there are a few exceptions with the dyed parts. Not all, but some. karinui_1515.6

Again, unlike the previous kimono, most of the hand dyework is selvedge-to-selvedge, including the metallic gold splash accents.  karinui_1515.5 This crest circle was reserved for filling in later, and covered by a scrap of white silk to keep it clean and protected until a customer has chosen the kimono and sent it out for the crest to be applied by hand. karinui_1515.3 Basting threads tearing apart with the greatest of ease. karinui_1515.2 Stamp noting the fabric is 100% silk and 12.3 meters (13.45 yards) long. karinui_1515.15 All rolled up! karinui_1515.16


So what happens now? Both karinui will be used for other projects I have in mind. Those will be disclosed a little later this year after I’ve had a chance to sit down with needle and thread. If you have any questions or would like to know more, please leave a comment below.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. mandi says:

    So are you finding these at flea markets in Japan? Or are you able, with your discerning eye, to find these works online? I ask because I’ve collected all sorts of kimono and bolts myself, but just based on what I thought was pretty. I’d like to start a serious collection of more valuable pieces, or pieces that are different and unique.

    1. Hi Mandi, it’s a bit of both. I’ve even taken trade-ins from Japanese women at cultural fairs and events here in the US. I’d suggest you keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll learn along the way. I’m drawn to specific styles, colors, motifs, and eras (I’m especially partial to late Meiji and Taisho era kimono), but I didn’t know what any of that meant when I started collecting. Keep reading all you can find and you’ll absorb more every year.


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