This is an a beautiful Uchikake (Japanese wedding gown) covered with embroideries on satin. The workmanship shown in this gown is truely amazing. It is in new condition.
The pair of loving birds are Oshi-dori (Mandarin ducks) which are popular subjects relating to weddings. The theme of this gown is probably from Chapter 5, "Lavender" (Waka Murasaki) in "The Tale of Genji". When Genji was traveling the countryside for the first time, he saw a beautiful young girl crying. She was crying because the birds that she kept inside of her basket had escaped. This young girl, Waka Murasaki, was taken under Genji’s care shortly after the incident and she became the most important woman of Genji’s life. Here on this gown, there are baskets turned upside down in a field filled with flowers and plants. These baskets were used indoors in Heian period (794-1185), to give a nice fragrance to their clothing; clothes were placed over the basket while incense burned inside. Beautiful waka (poems) were exchanged during this period.
The colors of this gown are bright and cheerful but not ostentatious. The photos were taken under sunlight to show the details of the embroidery. It naturally picked up the colors, particularly the gold color more than it would if it were indoors. The basic color on the front side is orange that changes to a darker but gentle brownish orange color (not as red as shown in some photos – see photo #4) towards the edges – brownish/dark orange color to orange and back to brownish/dark orange. The color of the bottom padding and liner is red. The color may change a little depending on the surrounding light but what you see in the photos is what you would get. There are two types of use of gold here; some gold (flat strips) were woven into the fabric and the others (wrapped around threads) are couched around the designs.
This gown does not appear to be worn even once. When we acquired this gown, the padding at the bottom was protected with white cotton (sewn to cover the padding). It does not necessarily mean that the gown is a new gown but it shows the way that the gown was handled. Many gowns that we purchased years ago came with the same white cloths and had basting stitches (partially broken) intact. These stitches would help to keep the fabric from sagging. Beautiful to wear and decorate with. The quality of this gown will certainly bring a rich flavor to you room. The background color may change the look of this gown; if it is placed on the dark background color (not necessarily means dark room), it will deepen the color as it did in black background. With all the embroideries, it weighs 14 pounds, 52" (sleeve to sleeve) x 76" long, comes in the original paper box (16 1/4" x 25 3/4" x 7"). This is the only gown that came with an original box up until now.