Obi purse, childs, silk brocade / metal / cotton / plastic / card, maker unknown, Japan, 1930-1940
This collection of kimono and kimono accessories including an obi, obi scarf, geta (Japanese sandals), tabi (split toe socks), obi purses and hair decorations are an important addition to the Museum's holdings of Asian costume. Clothing is one of the richest expressions of material culture helping to define cultural identity.
The kimono is one of the most recognisable of national costumes. The stylised and colourful kimono expresses the aesthetic sensibilities, culture and customs of the people of Japan. Over time, the Japanese people have adopted a more western style of dress, yet the kimono still has an emotional impact on the Japanese consciousness. Its uses, aesthetics and social meanings are culturally and socially significant with the precise rules of kimono dressing revealing patterns of gender, class, identity and a sensibility unique to Japanese society.
The style of the kimono has changed minimally over time, evolving to fit new circumstances in contemporary Japanese society. The kimono remains an important feature of Japanese society and is worn to special occasions, festivals and significant holidays. Kimono for children are styled and shaped much like those for adults. Bright patterns and prints are typical of children's kimonos. Children generally wear elaborate kimono for special festivals and visits to local shrines on holidays.
The maker of the obi purse is unknown. It was made in Japan between 1930 and 1940.
This obi purse was worn by the donor when she was a child living in Japan. The donor was born in Japan and lived there for approximately three years before repatriating to Australia as a result of World War II.
Typically children of three, five and seven years of age dress in ceremonial kimono and go to Shinto shrines for blessings. The girls wear very colourful kimono and adorn their hair with cheerful hair ornaments. Young boys wear a kimono and haori decorated with the family crest and pleated pants or hakama which are lightly patterned.