Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Robe (Kosode) with Shells and Sea Grasses

Edo period (1615–1868)
early 17th century
Embroidery and gold leaf on plain-weave silk patterned with warp floats
Overall: 60 1/2 x 49 in. (153.7 x 124.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul T. Nomura, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. S. Morris Nomura, 1992
Accession Number:
Not on view
This sumptuous robe is among the earliest extant kosode (garment with small sleeve openings). The natural scenery of Japan’s coast, with its beaches strewn with shells and sea grass, inspired the delicate embroidered design. The foundation fabric, woven in an intricate key-fret pattern with floral motifs, was likely imported from China in its white, undecorated state. It was then resist dyed to achieve the effect of irregular sandbanks, and the marine motifs were embroidered on top. The alternating bands of light blue were further embellished with gold-leaf accents.
Related Objects

Robe (Kosode) with Mandarin Orange Tree and Auspicious Characters

Date: second half of the 18th century Medium: Dyed and embroidered silk crepe with couched gold-wrapped threads Accession: 2002.325 On view in:Gallery 231

Robe (Kosode) with Cherry Blossoms and Cypress Fence

Date: second half of the 17th century Medium: Silk and metallic thread embroidery with resist dyeing on satin damask Accession: 1980.222 On view in:Not on view

Guardian Lion-Dogs

Date: mid-13th century Medium: Japanese cypress with lacquer, gold leaf, and color Accession: 2015.300.257a, b On view in:Gallery 223

Unlined Summer Kimono (Hito-e) with Landscape and Poem

Date: second half of the 18th century Medium: Embroidered and resist-dyed silk gauze (ro) Accession: 1974.278 On view in:Gallery 231

Rough Waves

Artist: Ogata Kōrin (Japanese, 1658–1716) Date: ca. 1704–9 Medium: Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper Accession: 26.117 On view in:Not on view