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Kimono For Sleeping

Kimono For Sleeping

No. 13 Huang Xian (Ko Kyo) by Chikanobu Toyohara (1890)

This wonderful print is the 13th from the series Twenty-four Tales of Filial Piety by Toyohara Chikanobu, where legendary stories of filial service would be portrayed.

Shown in the top inset of the print is Koko, also known as Huang Xiang, a protagonist of a Chinese tale. As a young boy, he lost his mother and saw the devastation of his mourning father. Trying to make every effort to comfort his father, during the hot summer heat, he would fan his father's pillow to help him rest with comfortable sleep, and in the winter times, similarly, he would warm the blankets of his father for a restful night.

The beauty in the main image is depicted wearing a summer kimono, and  holding a summer fan called uchiwa. The mosquito net is to avoid being bitten in her sleep. These various elements help us understand that this is a summer scene. The picture serves to show how the kimono was worn through all seasons.

Beauty with a Fan by Ito Shinsui (c.1931)

The yukata – or summer kimono - could be worn without the juban undergarment, and with a thinner shorter belt hanhaba obi, much easier to wear, just as in the above example by Ito Shinsui.


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