Japan (Ryūkyū Islands)
Resist-dyed and painted (bingata) silk crepe
Estimated dimensions: H. 70 in. (177.8 cm); W. 60 in. (152.4 cm)
Purchase, Roy R. and Marie S. Neuberger Foundation Inc. and several members of The Chairman's Council Gifts, 2000 Benefit Fund, and funds from various donors, 2001
Not on view
This costume features a pattern of pine boughs and plum blossoms, common throughout east Asia, on a background of colorful broken-diamond shapes, a traditional Japanese pattern called matsukawabishi (pine-bark lozenges) for its fundamental resemblance to pine bark. Note that there are two views of pine boughs in the design: one is a cloud-shaped view of the side of a large limb, and the other is a view of the end of a branch in the form of a circle with radiating pine needles.
Generally speaking, the bingata dyeing technique involves the application of paste, sometimes through stencils and sometimes freehand, in areas of the pattern that are to remain white. Dyes and pigments are applied to other pattern areas with a brush. The designs are protected with paste before the background is dyed. Finally, all the paste is washed out, leaving the vibrant colors and spirited designs that are typical of bingata.
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