Child's Kimono with Takasago and Feathered Cape Design

Children's kimono were often made from the good sections of old adult kimono. This garment, made from two different finely woven asa kasuri fabrics, may be just such an example.

The designs on the central panel reference the ancient Takasago legend about a long and happy marriage that is described on other panels in this exhibition. Figures of the happy aged couple who rake and sweep pine needles on the Takasago shore are often displayed at weddings and anniversaries. The grouping usually includes a pine tree, which represents the two pines inhabited by the couple's spirits that grew together like one tree, and the longevity symbols of a crane and a tortoise.

Jo, the husband, is represented by his rake, said to rake in good fortune. Uba, his wife, is represented by her broom, which sweeps away troubles. The tortoise is represented by the hexagon pattern of the pine branch in front of the pine trunk.

On this textile is also a heart-shaped "fungus of immortality" between stylized pine branches and the left fork of the pine trunk. An auspicious cloud, which echoes the shape of the fungus, rises above the trunk.

The main image on the sleeves is of the feathered cape (hagoromo) worn by heavenly maidens. Note the cape collar in the "fungus of immortality" shape and similarly shaped auspicious clouds. The curving lines represent the shore where the famous classical Noh play, Hagoromo, is set.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller