7229: 1930-50s Japanese Meisen Silk 59 in. Piece (AraiHari)

7229: 1950s Meisen Silk, long view

Catalog# 7229

1930s-1950s Japanese Textiles:

From Arai-Hari Cleaners 
Japanese Kimono Meisen Silk Fabric Piece

Width: 13 inches / 33.02 cm
Length: 59 inches / 149.86 cm

US$20.00 per piece 

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Item Details and Description

  • Fabric History/Pedigree: 1950s or earlier silk fabric pieces received from traditional Japanese kimono cleaner/reconstructor called Arai-Hari -- see an excellent explanation of traditional Arai Hari by textile expert John Marshall, by click-pushing HERE.

  • Fabric Description:  Meisen silk, is lightweight, slightly translucent, and somewhat softer than most we see from this period; note the use of mock-Kasuri(ikat) type motifs that include: various geometric-shaped figures that have steps-like boundaries; also, along one side there are apparent stroke shapes that are rendered with tiny weft lines; please view all pictures;  the background color is black with the colors used in the designs being several hues of red and dark red, dark aqua-blue, mustard yellow, off-white, and silver-grays; please note the intentional fuzzy edges as typical of Meisen silks. This piece same on both sides; no sheen.

    Colors: Please NOTE that colors and contrast differ on each device, so please use our text descriptions to complement your sense of the fabric.

  • Condition: Very good to excellent (see note).
    NOTE: We found some very minor maker's imperfections in the weaving machines(looms) of the Meisen in 1940s Japan -- see our last image above, does not detract, but we wanted to point it out.

Background Information on Meisen Kimonos:

Meisen is defined literally in our Kenkyuusha dictionary as "...common silk stuff"; meisen fabrics (or garments made from them) are currently called 'meisen'; Meisen kimono were made similarly to Kasuri (ikat), though meisen usually have very colorful patterns with distinct -- often more modern -- motifs and a slight sheen; 1950s meisen have intentionally fuzzy, almost Impressionistic look and often larger designs; Kasuri/ikat, of course, is mostly indigo blue and some white with black. To learn more about kasuri click here.

To see pictures of meisen silk vintage kimonos from Google, touch HERE.
Other Cultural Notes: The best discussion we've found of Meisen silk fabric was on an old blog post by Japundit, excerpted here*:

"...Young women have rediscovered(Japan Times) the kimono, and you can see them out in Harajuku on the Sunday fashion parade. There's even a term for these girls -- not surprisingly they are called "kimono girls." There are even some nice books documenting the trend which you can check out at J-List and are definitely worth having if you are at all into fashion.

"The meisen kimono in particular has become very popular. These kimono were made in the first half of the twentieth century, and were characterized by a glossy sheen, and brilliant patterns. There is often a sort of blurry quality to the silks...."

[*original article has been pulled]

$ 20.00

7229: 1930-50s Japanese Meisen Silk 59 in. Piece (AraiHari)