My fifth kimono purchase was this Showa-era townwear with scenic design in Omeshi and urushi.
This kimono was my first purchase of a hitoe – an unlined kimono. I bought it because it was Omeshi, and I was keen to see what this fabric was like. In fact I didn’t know at the time, but I already owned an Omeshi kimono – my yellow townwear with urushi roses.
This kimono has a lovely background treatment like sharkskin, in what the vendor Yamatoku called ‘kame-komon’ style, topped with a design of Edo-period houses joined by a stylised stream. It was on sale at rock-bottom price and described as basically in good condition but with dirt spots, but I was attracted to its wonderful texture and had also notice the urushi threads, which were not mentioned in the description. I decided that would redye it or remake it into a jacket if it would not come clean, so I risked a bid.
On arrival it proved to be absolutely filthy, but unfortunately it couldn’t be washed. I took off the collar guard to try this out and it produced copious quantities of burgundy dye, which stained the front surface of the omeshi dark pink.
Sadly, since I do not have access to a specialist dry cleaner, I had to write off this purchase as a mistake – I have still not been able to do anything with the fabric.
Just goes to show that you do have to watch your step when buying online. I hope one day to get the fabric dry cleaned and at that point it will be usable for something.