Outer Robe (Uchikake) with Maple Tree and River
Shōwa period (1926–1989)
first half of the 20th century
Resist-dyed silk satin damask embroidered with silk and metallic thread
65 1/4 x 49 3/4 in. (165.7 x 126.4 cm)
Anonymous Gift, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert H. Cory, 1962
Not on view
The colorful leaves of a maple tree with a river beneath its branches are no doubt an allusion to Tatsuta River, which is famous in classical literature as a place for viewing autumn leaves. The river flows in Nara prefecture and was familiar to pilgrims traveling to the Tatsuta Shrine. Tatsuta River is featured in many classical court poems, and the image of a bright brocade of fallen maple leaves floating on the surface of the river became a symbol of the autumn season. Chrysanthemums are also depicted, and, besides being the representative seasonal flower, they might also refer to the legend of the Chrysanthemum Boy (Kikujidō), who achieved immortality by drinking dewdrops from the flowers.
This robe was prepared for a young upper-class woman. The satin damask fabric features a complex woven design of bridges, pines, and mist, while the white-spotted pattern of the water in the lower part of the textile was created by means of a technique called kanoko shibori, literally “fawn spot tie-dyeing.” The maple leaves and chrysanthemums were embroidered with silk and metallic thread.
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