Today, I’d like to introduce some auspicious designs which can be seen only in KIMONOs called “KISSHŌ-MOYŌ (吉祥模様)”
Originally this type of designs was brought from China 1,200-1,400 years ago and is said that prayers and wishes for happiness are put into it. Especially the designs of dragons, phoenix and cloud are very famous.
Of them, the “GANJU-CHŌ-MOYŌ (含綬鳥模様)”, a design of birds with flowers or strings in its beak, known to have its roots in Persia, is also said to have been brought from China.
The designs of crane and turtle have been particularly Japanized relative to others and become familiar to Japanese people and repeatedly used in KIMONOs, which symbolize a long life.
More typical Japanese KISSHŌ-MOYŌ is the design of “SHŌ-CHIKU-BAI (松竹梅)” a set of trees of pine, bamboo and plum.
The motif of “TACHIBANA (橘)” is 100% made-in-Japan design. TACHIBANA is an orange-like fruit and was believed to have the virtue of eternal youth and immortality having been brought from an imaginary utopia “TOKOYO-NO KUNI (常世国)” floating on the far east.
The design of TACHIBANA is often used in wedding KIMONOs or OBIs.
During the EDO period, 400 years ago from today, the motifs of court furnishings such as screen, folding fan, carriage and blind were newly added to KISSŌ-MOYŌ, which appeared as a longing for the elegant HEIAN dynasty.
These refined and graceful designs have become popular to be used in joyous occasions without any religious background.
As you can see, the designs of KIMONO became gradually sophisticated along with the improvement of Japanese aesthetic sense, moreover, it continues for long time until now with which I am always amazed even after decades of experience in KIMONO world!