Art/ Collection/ Art Object

縹絽地風景歌文字模様単衣
Unlined Summer Kimono (Hito-e) with Landscape and Poem

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
second half of the 18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Embroidered and resist-dyed silk gauze (ro)
Dimensions:
64 x 47 1/4 in. (162.5 x 120 cm)
Classification:
Costumes
Credit Line:
Gift of Margaret Wishard, in memory of her mother, Mrs. Luther D. Wishard, 1974
Accession Number:
1974.278
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 231
This light, unlined robe (hito-e) is designed for summer. On a blue background, flowers and plants of the four seasons appear in landscape settings. Spring flowers are represented along the hem; above them we see wisteria and other summer plants; toward the middle appear autumnal maple leaves; and around the neckline and on the sleeves are winter pine-sapling motifs.

The characters of a felicitous poem celebrating longevity and happiness make their way from the front to the back of the robe:

[front]
Toshi o iwau
yorozuyo no kame

Celebrating old age, turtles
live for ten thousand years,

[back]
tsuru no ko wa
chiyo o kotobuku
hana nare ya

and the offspring of cranes
for a thousand years—
flourishing in their long lives.

—Trans. Monika Bincsik
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