Forbidden Knot Kimono
Forbidden Knot Kimono


Forbidden Knot Kimono

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This beautifully embroidered piece showcases chrysanthemum motifs on its back. The chrysanthemum represents longevity, rejuvenation and nobility in Japan. It is also the symbol of autumn, harvest and goodwill. It is possibly one of the most commonly used flowers in motifs, appearing in many forms and many variations.

Patterns showing just the flowers are called kikukamon; designs depicting chrysanthemums attached to stems are known as oriedakiku, and flowers standing upright are called tatekikumon. At times, the flowers are also rendered along flowing water, or against a fence.

The Chrysanthemum Festival, also known as Choyo or Kikuno-Sekku, is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar. Originating as an old Chinese custom that made its way to Japan, activities include drinking sake with chrysanthemum petals floating in it, believed to ward off malevolence and ensure a long life. During the festival, many also wear cotton that has been placed on top of the flowers overnight to soak up their dew.


This kimono showcases an embroidery technique known as the Forbidden knot or stitch. This type of knot originated from the rich Chinese silk embroidery style where patterns were filled with rows of such fine knots. Likely to have been introduced to Japan through their close trade relations with each other.

The name ‘Forbidden Stitch’ took shape probably because of the knots’ association to China’s Forbidden City, the home to the Emperor. This stitch was used to decorate the royal wears, so pretty much forbidden to be used outside the city. It could also be that to avoid ordinary people from using it, a ‘belief’ was floated that it could cause blindness, due to which is also called the Blind Knot.

Care Instructions

  1. Dry clean (recommended) / Handwash.
  2. Store in cool and dry place away from direct sunlight without plastic covering to avoid trapping humidity and mildew
  3. Note: As with most vintage clothing, there might be slight stains and small holes dependent on the condition of the piece.