Friday, 5 March 2010

Juuni-hitoe 12 layers Kimono

The Juunihitoe (十二単衣, juunihitoe) is an extremely sophisticated kimono that was only worn by court-ladies in Japan. Juunihitoe means literally "twelve-layer robe".
In the Heian era we start to see the Juunihitoe.

The various layers of the Juunihitoe are silk garments. Most inner garment is made of white silk, followed by other layers which have various names, which are finally closed off by a final layer or coat. Motion in such a robe could be not really easy due to its total weight.

The arrangements of the layers and their colors were a good indication of what taste and what rank the lady had. The ladies was sometimes using the Juunihitoe as a pajama, but do not worry they were getting some layers off for the night.

The Trend to keep with the Juunihitoe was to wear the hair long and cut only on the sides you can see also on some picture that few ladies was wearing their hair tied in the back.

Today… you can look at Juunihitoe in Museum in Japan or in Movies. There is only the Imperial family now that uses it for very special occasion. You can understand that the production of it is very low and practically died out now. So the Juunihitoe have acquired a priceless title in Japanese clothing.

The Layers of the Juunihitoe

The undergarments: Usually a two-piece cotton or silk garment.

Kosode: A short silk red or white robe of ankle or lower calf length.
Hakama: A red pleated split skirt which can also be worn by men.
Hitoe: A light white, red or blue unlined robe.
Uchigi: A series of brightly coloured unlined robes that create a layered effect.
Uchiginu: A beaten scarlet silk robe worn as a stiffener and support for the outer robes.
Uwagi: A patterned woven and decorated silk robe than is shorter and narrower than the Uchiginu.
Karaginu: A waist length Chinese style jacket.

Customs of the ladies of the court:

Because it was not allowed to a lady to speak directly to men, the court ladies had fans as an accessory to hiding behind to shield her from inquiring looks and speak.
You see the fan was not only an innocent accessory to cool down the ladies. Yes it was used for it because the Juunihitoe was very hot to wear but it was playing a role of discretion in their communication. Maybe you have seen in some Japanese movies a court lady using her sleeve as a shield when she was talking to an outsider man. It was the practice of this time

The Juuni-hitoe was also called:
Karaginu no Shouzoku or Nyoubou Shouzoku or Shouzoku

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