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Meisen Summer Kimono with Rabbits and Scouring Rushes


Not on view

This playful pattern of white rabbits and scouring rushes—stiff plants used for polishing—has a long history in Japanese art. The design suggests the rabbits are gnawing the rushes to grind down their teeth, symbolizing self-improvement and industriousness. Here, however, the classical composition has been modernized and stylized. This kimono might have been created in 1939, the Year of the Rabbit. It was likely made as a young girl’s ceremonial garment for the New Year’s celebration, and then tailored into a summer kimono.

Meisen Summer Kimono with Rabbits and Scouring Rushes, Plain-weave machine-spun silk in unraveled ikat (hogushi-gasuri), Japan

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