This Japanese silk shibori jacket (haori) is an exceptional example of the artistry of textile craftsmen in early 20th century Japan. The shibori technique practiced in Japan required that the many thousands of circles that form the fabric's intricate patterns be created by tying off each tiny section of about one-half centimeter with silk thread. The dot patterns on this haori form a dazzling variety of waves, clouds, flowers, leaves, stars, traditional Japanese symbols and geometric designs. It is astounding to consider the time, patience and skill that was needed to tightly bind every tiny dot with a small piece of thread, then dye the white silk fabric so that every circle in every pattern is outlined in white. The type of shibori used for this haori, with its dense overall patterns of dots, is called kanoko shibori. The slightly puckered fabric surface resulting from the binding and dyeing process adds to the distinctive look of Japanese shibori. Because of the time and labor involved in producing intricate shibori such as this, the art has understandably all but vanished in modern Japan.
This is a woman's haori and was worn as a short jacket over kimono. Haori originally were garments worn only by men. During the time when Japanese sumptuary laws prohibited the newly wealthy members of the merchant class from wearing finery, the merchants added beautiful silk linings to their haori and concealed them under somber black outer shells. By the time women began wearing haori such laws were gone but the practice of adding fine silk linings remained. The soft silk lining on this haori is printed with a variety of items treasured in Japanese culture, such as books, fans and lanterns, in shades of blue and orange to contrast with the variegated red and bronze in the shibori. Though it obviously has been worn, this haori is in very good condition. It has been in a collection in the United States for many years. The haori measures 50" (127 cm) from end to end of the sleeves, and is 31" (79 cm) in length. SEE MORE ITEMS IN OUR COLLECTION AT WWW.SILKROAD1.COM