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Woman's Robe or Kimono

Asian Art

Traditional Ainu clothing is often created with attush, a light yet durable fabric made from the bark of elm trees. Its golden color provides an ideal background for bold, contrasting designs created from valuable scraps of cotton fabric and silk thread obtained from the Japanese.

These designs, found at the openings and hems of garments, serve as amulets, protecting the wearer’s body at places where evil spirits could enter. This robe shows a blocky design of rectangles covered by stitching that forms thick, curving lines that meet in sharp points. This embroidery, called ayus (Ainu for “having thorns”), adds an extra layer of protection: “thorns” that overlap the edges of the design and stick out at the corners.
MEDIUM Cotton, elm bark
DIMENSIONS 42 1/8 x 44 7/8 in. (107 x 114 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Herman Stutzer
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CAPTION Ainu. Woman's Robe or Kimono. Cotton, elm bark, 42 1/8 x 44 7/8 in. (107 x 114 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Herman Stutzer, 12.549d. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE front, 12.549d_view1_Ainu_project.jpg. North American Ainu Documentation Project, Yoshiburo Kotani, 1990-92, 1990-92
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Womans Robe or Kimono