Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Kimono with Cockscomb Flowers

Taishō period (1912–26)
Paste-resist dyed (yūzen) and painted satin damask
Overall: 60 7/16 x 50 9/16 in. (153.5 x 128.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Sue Cassidy Clark, in honor of Dr. Barbara Brennan Ford, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
The early twentieth century saw an interest in objective, near-photographic naturalism in yūzen-dyed and painted kimono patterns, such as the stand of cockscomb flowers on the lower half of this robe. In English and Japanese, the name of the showy cockscomb flower, or keitō (literally, “chicken’s head”), celebrates the flamboyant head of the rooster. The pattern on this robe could almost serve as an illustration of a 1915 poem by Nagatsuka Takashi (1879–1915), who was known for his acute sensitivity to the progression of the seasons:

Keitō wa
hietaki aki no
hi ni haete
iyo-iyo akaku
sae ni keru kamo

Cockscomb flowers
responding to the chill
of autumn days
will turn even redder
when the sun comes up.
—Trans. John T. Carpenter
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.

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