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Woman's Overrobe (Uchikake) with Books and Mandarin Orange Branches

Edo period (1615–1868)
first half of the 19th century
Embroidery in silk and metallic thread; appliqué of resist-dyed (shibori) silk fabrics on silk satin damask
ca. 70 in. (177.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Morse, 1972
Accession Number:
Not on view
Books with varying decorative covers appear amid the colorful fruit and flowers on the mandarin orange branches of this outer robe (uchikake). The presence of books reflects the rise in publishing and literacy during the Edo period, while the poetic and congratulatory themes of the covers evoke the aristocratic culture of the Heian period (794–1185) and auspicious patterns associated with celebration. See, for example, the dewy autumn grasses on the red book on the back of the right sleeve, and the cranes in flight on the white book on the back of the left sleeve.

In the late Edo period, outer robes of this type were made as formal garments for young women from wealthy merchant families to wear for weddings and special occasions.
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