Silk crepe with yûzen (painted) and surihaku (gold foil) designs and appliquéd patches of Saga brocade, all in hexagonal shapes to match the damask weave of the ground cloth.
Although the majority of Japanese brocade—a rich fabric with a raised design, woven with gold and silver threads—is produced in the Nishijin district of Kyoto, certain brocades are made in former castle towns like Saga and Kaga. Saga brocade, still renowned today, originated as a textile art practiced as a pastime in the Edo period (1615–1868) by the ladies-in-waiting of the ruling Nabeshima clan of the Kashima domain (modern-day Saga prefecture in the southwestern island of Ky?sh?). It is hand produced on a small, lap-sized table, using thin gold, silver, and platinum papers for the warp, and colorful silk threads for the weft. Because of the delicate, painstaking nature of the process, only a tiny amount can be woven in one day. Saga brocade, therefore, is usually restricted to appliqués, as in these examples.
Black silk crepe with yuzen (paste-resist hand-painted), surihaku (silt) and embroidered designs. Five crests done in reserve (appears as white on black). Lining is plain-weave white satin for the entire length of the kimono. Collar, upper torso, and sleeves have a double lining.
This is a tomosode kimono, the most formal format, as indicated by the five crests. The reserve technique for the crest is also the most formal (versus embroidery, for example). A tomosode kimono would be worn by a married woman to the wedding of a close relative.
The technique used to create the design on this kimono is yuzen, developed in 17th century Japan. Yuzen require much skill and hard work, by first protecting the design area with a rice-paste resist and dying the rest of the cloth. Afterwards, the resist is removed and the design and details are hand-painted.