Tanoshiiomoide – Sweet Memory
I found my kimono’s sister! That’s right, this kimono is the twin of another in my collection: www.flickr.com/photos/13061699@N06/4168183960/in/set-7215…
There are only a few differences between them. One is the background colour; this one is purple while the other is black. 2nd is the crests; this one has five pulownia crests while the other has only three clover crests. 3rd is the sleeve length. This one has sleeves a full 110cm long, while the other has sleeves which were shortened to about 90cm.
I’m quite curious about the history of these two kimono. Way back in the Taisho period, it was common for women to wear layered sets of furisode, with a black based one as the topmost layer, as marriage dresses. However those sets usually consisted of a white based furisode, a red one and a black one. I also found out recently that purple is considered a taboo colour to wear to a marriage in Japanese culture. This is because traditionally murasaki (purple) dye was notrious for fading. So wearing purple to a marriage or giving purple flowers as gifts at weddings was considered an omen of fading love. This custom was already likely becoming archaic in the Taisho period, but may have still held some weight. So it’s possible that these two kimono were never worn as a bridal set.
The other possibility is that these two kimono, although "twins", were never actually a set. I’ve taken careful measurements of both kimono and they seem to be made for completely different people. currently this may simply be because one was remade/retailored after changing hands at some point. The other kimono in this pair shows evidence of originally having five crests. Two were dyed out, and three were redyed perhaps indicating a change of hands.
The other possibility behind these two kimono having completely different measurements but otherwise being "twins", is that they may have been commissioned for sisters. If a family had two daughters it’s concievable that "twin" kimono would be commissioned for them. The black one would have originally been slightly more formal or important, so they would have been worn at an event where one sister played a somewhat more integral role than the other.
All of that aside, this particular kimono is in rough shape. She’s got some discolouring on the upper back and the fabric on the upper body/shoulders seems to be getting quite thin and weak. I suspect this kimono may have been on display for some time. That would explain the wear around the shoulders.