Woman’s Kimono with Warplanes and Flags of Japan


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In the first half of the twentieth century, kimono conveying propagandistic messages or describing Japan’s numerous overseas military conflicts grew in popularity alongside other types of garments featuring novelty designs. This rare woman’s kimono featuring military and nationalistic motifs appears to have been custom-made by a couture designer for a wealthy patron eager to endorse Japan’s vision of imperial expansion and military domination in East Asia. Woven with gold thread and colored yarns against a black silk ground (an ikat technique called kasuri, which involves weaving pre-dyed yarns), images of the flag of Japan, fighter planes, and bombers live alongside haunting suggestions of barbed wire and the crenellations of the Great Wall.

Woman’s Kimono with Warplanes and Flags of Japan, Silk (kasuri) with gold thread, Japan

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