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Woman's Kimono
Woman's Kimono, c. 1958
Silk crepe with yuzen dyeing
64 x 50 inches (162.6 x 127 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Iwao Setsu, 1995
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Let’s Look

  • What kind of clothing is this? Where are the sleeves? How would it look different if someone were wearing it?
  • What kind of tree is shown in the decoration? What season? How can you tell?
  • Is the tree symmetrical? Why? How is the design balanced?

Let’s Look Again

  • Make a list of all the colors in the kimono. What colors are soft and muted? Bold and bright? What could they express?
  • Was this kimono made by machine or by hand? What crafts were involved?
  • Who do you think would wear it? Why? When?


Connect and compare

  • In tenth century Japan, Lady Murasaki wrote in The Tale of Genji (considered the world's first novel) about how colorful robes were worn at Court as a form of communication. Discuss how clothing sends messages today.
  • In Japan, everything used in life provides an opportunity for aesthetic expression. Compare this approach to art and life with Native American art, the Arts and Crafts movement, and the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Related Art Project

Create a special kimono for yourself. Fold a piece of drawing paper in half, the long way. Outline half of your kimono on it, so the sleeve points away from the fold. Cut around the shape you have drawn, so that when you unfold the paper, it creates a symmetrical shape. Now decorate your kimono with oil pastels or crayons. Will your design be asymmetrical with empty spaces like the Flowering Plum Kimono? Paint a thin layer of watercolor wash over the drawing and the blank areas. The oil pastels or crayons act as a resist (like the yuzen technique) and the watercolors are like fabric dye.

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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