Woman's Robe or Kimono
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.
Cotton, elm bark
This item is not on view
Gift of Herman Stutzer
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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
front, 12.549d_view1_Ainu_project.jpg. North American Ainu Documentation Project, Yoshiburo Kotani, 1990-92, 1990-92
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