Kimono with Stylized Flowing Water, Silk; paste-resist dyed with gold- and silver-painted accents, Japan

Kimono with Stylized Flowing Water

Shōwa period (1926–89)
second quarter of the 20th century
Silk; paste-resist dyed with gold- and silver-painted accents
Overall: 62 × 51 in. (157.5 × 129.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Sue Cassidy Clark, in memory of Terry Satsuki Milhaupt, 2013
Accession Number:
Not on view
The virtuosity of the weavers and dyers who collaborated on this kimono is best revealed when the garment is viewed in a raking light, and the gold- and silver-painted stream shimmers against the underlying woven water pattern. When wrapped around the body, with the left front overlapping the right, the highlighted stream flows from just below the wearer’s obi sash toward the center back hem, where it meets the stream flowing from the right front. When the robe is fully open, the water patterns resonate with similar stylized flowing-water motifs in works by contemporaneous painters working in the Rinpa idiom, such as Kamisaka Sekka (1866–1942).

In contrast to water patterns by his predecessor Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716), Sekka’s water designs emphasize movement and turbulence rather than stillness.
Sue Cassidy Clark , New York (until 2013; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.