kosode 小袖
KEY WORD : art history / crafts
Lit. small sleeves. A modern generic name for all full-length garments made before the Meiji period. Originally a lower-class outer garment and an upper-class undergarment, beginning in the 16c it became the principal outer robe, evolving into the modern kimono 着物. The name refers to the small size of the wrist openings which distinguish it from the oosode 大袖 (large sleeves). Kosode designs for the court and samurai 侍 classes in the Edo period were often based on literary themes taken from famous Japanese and Chinese poems. Kosode are made with two main pieces joined at the back center so they hang from the shoulders to the ground in both the front and back. Two shorter pieces are sewn to form rectangular sleeves. Two pieces half the width and length of the main fabric add extra width when sewn to the front. Another piece of cloth diagonally crosses the front panels to form a collar. The furisode 振袖, hitoe 単衣, *katabira 帷, *koshimaki 腰巻, and *uchikake 打掛 are usually called kosode subtypes, although technically they qualify only when they have small wrist openings. The so-called kanbun kosode 寛文小袖 (Kanbun style kosode ), developed in the Kanbun 寛文 era (1661-73), reflects dynamic merchant-class taste. In this style the front and back each compose a single field for a large, asymmetrical design; the rear design often formed a dramatic arc from the shoulders down the right side. An order book from the Kariganeya 雁金屋 design house illustrates Kanbun styles ordered by Toufukumon-in 東福門院 (1607-78), consort of Emperor Gomizunoo 後水尾. Kanbun style designs are also found in the SHINSEN ONHIINAGATA 新撰御雛型 , a kosode design book of 1666.


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