I'm glad I caught one of the last few days of the Met's exhibition on the history of kimonos, which concluded this past Sunday. Looking through the exhibition, I was greeted by this gorgeous blue satin wedding uchikake magnificently embroidered in a shell-matching game box design.
The Met description noted that this light blue uchikake, dating to either the Edo (1615-1868) or Meiji period (1868-1912), was likely worn by a young woman of the wealthy merchant class. The theme of shell-matching game boxes led the curator to believe that the kimono was created originally for a wedding, since only two properly matching halves of a shell can be paired in a traditional game of matching shells and thus symbolized a married couple.
Hope you enjoy the pictures. I took photos of a couple other exhibited kimonos, and I will post them in due course.
A detail of one of the matching shell game boxes. The description noted that the design of the boxes originated from scenes from the Tale of Genji. Unfortunately, I am not able to identify which scene :)
Full View of the Luxurious Kimono. The blue appears darker than it actually is in this photo.
Another Game Box.
A pair of Shells.
I thought the way this metal ring was done was so charming
The curator noted that the outstanding nature of this uchikake was highlighted by the fact that even the hem was lavishly embroidered. The hem was rarely decorated, as it is the most vulnerable part of the garment.