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Shibori Haori – Japan – Taisho (1912-1926)

An unusual shibori haori, featuring an extremely large and bold interlocking “asanoha” motif. The six-pointed star asanoha motif has been a popular motif for many centuries in Japan, and is based on the shape of the hemp leaf. It is a non-seasonal auspicious motif that is commonly utilized on baby cloths: reflecting hemp’s fertile and durable nature, in the hope that the child will stay healthy and grow big like hemp. The use of the asanoha motif – especially so bold – is unusual on a woman’s outer garment. Some historical background: hemp was not only used to make thread, rope and cloth, but in early times in Japan it was also used to make pendants (nusa) displayed at Shinto shrines. During the Heian period, hemp was also burned at the Bon Festival in midsummer to light departed spirits on their way.