Chieko Fukuda sent us some ideas from the Tokyo National Museum on how to design kimono fabric.
Many of the patterns seen on kimonos are based on the rich and varied seasons of Japan.
Whether in patterns heralding a new season or in cool autumn and winter designs worn during the sweltering summer, traditional kimonos are full of elegance and sophistication.
Images that evoke the seasons include:
Spring: camellia, an auspicious sign of early spring plum blossom, a declaration of spring cherry blossom, the flower of flowers willow, the beauty of new buds fern, the breath of the mountain
Summer: maple tree, freshness
Autumn: Japanese bellflower, one of 7 herbs of autumn dragonfly, autumn’s messenger autumn leaves in a stream, the transience of life autumn grasses, elegance
Winter: snow on bamboo, a good omen for a rich harvest
Celebratory patterns featured auspicious symbols believed to bring good luck. They were put on ordinary kimonos as well as special kimonos worn at weddings or at New Year.
Pine: evergreen (never aging)
Bamboo: a pure spirit
Plum blossom: the vitality of life
Chrysanthemum: a symbol of longevity
Paulownia: the home of the phoenix
Crane: alive for 1000 years
Fan future prosperity
Conch shell: symbol of wealth