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Lot 2C: Japanese Samurai’s silk Kimono, Japan, Edo period, circa 1700

Eternity Gallery

September 25, 2022
Tampa, FL, US

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Description

Japanese Samurai’s silk Kimono, Japan, Edo period, circa 1700 There is a beautiful painted picture inside the kimono, depicting eagle, pines, some fruits and mountain (possibly Mount Fuji). Sewn with white threads with long stitches, each 8-15 mm long. Length: 107 cm; Weight: 380 g; Condition: used, but perfect for the age, some damage at the bottom; Authenticity guaranteed. Provenance: Was found in the antique wooden box together with old Samurai’s armors. Additional photos are available on demand. Reference: The Kamakura period: The Samurai Aesthetic. Men of the samurai class, all the way up to the Shogun, wore a decorated brocade version of the hitatare worn by the peasants of the Heian period. The fewer layers and smaller sleeves made it easier to don armor over their clothes, and the crossed-collar style firmly aligned the samurai with the common people, rather than the aristocratic and frankly incompetent Imperial court. Even in the classical wide-sleeved fashion for the highest-ranked samurai, the sleeves had drawstrings sewn in to allow for the sleeves to be closed up (similar to the hunting robes worn by aristocrats during trips into the countryside). Even when making an ostentatious display of impracticality with the highest levels of formal wear, the samurai aesthetic demanded a way to make the impractical practical. The Muromachi Period: The Kimono Blossoms Though the first Kamakura Shoguns were strong, they couldn't maintain their strength forever. A ploy to keep the Imperial court weak by dividing it into a Northern and Southern Court backfired, and resulted in a temporary restoration of power to the Emperor, known as the Kemmu Restoration. But that break in the power of the office of the Shogun was temporary--the clans who had supported the Emperor's rebellion weren't exactly loyal to the Emperor, so much as they were enemies of the Shogun, and once the Emperor attempted to take power away from the samurai and set Japan back into Confucian order, the Ashikaga clan and their allies and armies turned, supporting a new Emperor who would, in turn, grant the Ashikaga the office of the Shogunate. The Muromachi Period: The Kimono Blossoms Though the first Kamakura Shoguns were strong, they couldn't maintain their strength forever. A ploy to keep the Imperial court weak by dividing it into a Northern and Southern Court backfired, and resulted in a temporary restoration of power to the Emperor, known as the Kemmu Restoration. But that break in the power of the office of the Shogun was temporary--the clans who had supported the Emperor's rebellion weren't exactly loyal to the Emperor, so much as they were enemies of the Shogun, and once the Emperor attempted to take power away from the samurai and set Japan back into Confucian order, the Ashikaga clan and their allies and armies turned, supporting a new Emperor who would, in turn, grant the Ashikaga the office of the Shogunate. The Ashikaga Shogunate was deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Northern and Southern courts, and established their capital in Muromachi, near Kyoto, where they could keep a close eye on the conflict and maintain their interests. This closeness to the Imperial Court allowed the pendulum of fashion to swing back to courtly opulence, while still reflecting a non-aristocratic mode of dress, because the rise of the Ashikaga Shogunate was possible largely due to the efforts of less-powerful samurai and the legions of foot soldiers they had assembled. Thus, more richly decorated versions of the hitatare, and a sleeveless two-piece ensemble called a kataginu became the centerpieces of Muromachi Period men's fashion. Practicality was still the name of the game for men's wear, however, as the dominant theme of the Muromachi Period was civil war--the weak Ashikaga Shoguns' reign is vastly overshadowed by the Sengoku Period, and its system of vastly powerful, ever-clashing Daimyo. The Azuchi-Momoyama Period The Azuchi-Momoyama Period is one of the shortest periods of Japanese history, but one of the most pivotal. Oda Nobunaga's military might essentially ended the civil war, Toyotomi Hideyoshi successfully unified Japan after Nobunaga's death, and Tokugawa Ieyasu established a new, powerful bakufu government, all within a period of about 35 years. As it has often been put, 'Nobunaga mixed the ingredients, Hideyoshi baked the cake, and Ieyasu ate it.' The strong leadership of these three daimyo brought unity to an archipelago which had been divided and war-stricken for over 100 years, and allowed commerce to reopen to all areas of Japan; constant warfare had spurred the development of powerful guilds for merchants and artisans to protect themselves, and at the conclusion of the war, they returned to the countryside after decades of hiding in the mountains. Japan took a long, hard look at the outside world for the first time in a long time, and took inspiration and artistic techniques from the wider world. Artisans and craftsmen unraveled the secrets of how to weave both thick silk brocades thin crepes, damasks and satins, resulting in a

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