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Working Woman With Tasuki by Kunichika Toyohara (1870)

Since kimono were worn by all echelons of society, practicality was often a necessary consideration. For working people needing to keep their long sleeves from becoming soiled or damaged, a cord or cloth sash known as a tasuki could be tied in such a way as to hold them out of the way. In the above print, the tasuki is the red piece of cloth tied in the woman’s back.


The above diagram shows how the tasuki is used even today as a way of
preventing the long sleeves of the kimono to get soiled or in the way of daily or working activities for people. Apart from the practicality that such an accessory has, it also provides a different look and aesthetic to the kimono, showing the versatility of a garment that sometimes is thought of as one-dimensional. 

In the above print, we can also see the adaptation of kimono to colder autumn or winter weather conditions: the protagonist wears five different layers, with the collar upright, and a cloth headcover. This is in contrast with the attire displayed in the print Beauty in Summer by the same artist, shown in the exhibition.

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