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Antique Asian Kimonos

The kimono is one of Japan's most recognisable cultural products. It has been worn in Japan for hundreds of years, and so antique kimonos are prized for both their long history and their beautiful designs.

The Kimono

People in Japan have been wearing kimonos and similar garments since around the 8th century. In fact, the word kimono' just means a thing to wear'. It was during the Edo period of the 17th to the 19th century, though, that the kimono really developed into its most recognisable form, as a T-shaped robe-like garment with straight seams. Richly decorated kimonos were an essential garment and status symbol for the samurai class. From the late 19th century onwards, the kimono declined in popularity as more and more Japanese people adopted Western-style clothing. Today kimonos are rarely used as everyday clothing, but people often wear them for formal occasions like weddings and graduation ceremonies.

Materials and Design

Silk is the material most commonly associated with materials, and silk antique kimonos were often intricately woven and decorated. Not all silk materials are the same, either. Kimonos could be made from heavy silk fabrics like chirimen or omeshi, very fine and lightweight ro silk or a range of other types of silk. Kimonos can also be made from wool, linen or, in more modern times, synthetics. Kimonos were, and often still are, canvasses for textile artists to demonstrate their skill. While some kimonos, particularly men's kimonos, could be quite plain in design, kimonos could also be embroidered or dyed with elaborate floral designs or even scenes from popular stories. Today, women's kimonos are more likely to be decorated

Types of Kimono

Not all kimonos are the same. Different types of kimono are intended for different people to wear on different occasions. The lightweight yukata is worn by both men and women, and its unlined fabric makes it comfortable to wear on hot summer days. The mofuku, on the other hand, is made from plain black silk and worn while in mourning, and the furisode has extremely long sleeves and is worn by unmarried women.

Similar Garments

Antique kimonos are not the only beautiful and traditional Asian garment available. The short haori is quite similar to a kimono but designed to be worn as a jacket. The lightweight yukata is a lighter and less formal alternative to the kimono that is still worn by many Japanese people today, especially in summer. Other East Asian countries have also developed traditional clothes similar to the kimono like the Korean hanbok and the Chinese hanfu.

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