This year, I want to finish some of the things I started long ago. One such neglected project is a look at the common motifs used in Japanese kimonos.
What better way to start than to look at my personal favourite - the tsuru crane.
In Japanese culture the crane is believed to live 1000 years (a thinking they adopted from China) and so represents a long life. As the crane mates for life (hmmm... I wonder what the traditional gift for a 950th wedding anniversary would be...), build the nest and raise their young together, it's also used as a symbol for a happy marriage. Many wedding uchikake gowns are embroidered with cranes and are often pine, another symbol of long life.
This was a stunning women's kimono. It was a gorgeous fine silk with shibori details.
This was from a boy's kimono, the fabric is from the sleeve and you can see the family crest at the top. I love how it looks like a moon in the night sky. This type of kimono would have been laid over a newborn (at about 100 days old I believe) during a visit to the shine to pray for his health and long life.
This is another boy's kimono. It also has lots of motifs traditionally used for boys including taiko drums, arrows, Mt Fuji and arrowheads.
This is from a vibrant girl's kimono, from memory printed on a silk crepe and with gold highlights.
This was a heavily embroidered women's obi. The gold was super shiny and the crane was done in soft silk threads.
I'm quite obsessed with the cranes and even used them in my wedding dress. And they always look so elegant, souring across the fabric.