This kimono is named Orenji (orange) No Hamon (ripple) after the weaved patterns on the fabric. Water is represented in many different ways on summer kimonos. From S-shaped curves of the ryusui-mon flowing water pattern to the whorls of the kanze-mizu design. Its popularity in stencil designs and woven fabrics and textiles is likely due to its repeating patterns.
In Japanese culture, water symbolizes purification and life. Without water, there would be no life. Water also plays a significant role in the Shintō religion, where Harae, or purification rituals, involve cleansing one’s hands and mouth with water. At the same time, Kyoto has the largest freshwater lake, which was vital to the prosperity of the prefecture, and its importance has been represented through cuisine and art, apart from the continued innovation instilled within the country.
These kimono uses the technique of Kasuri. Kasuri (絣) is the Japanese term for fabric that has been woven with fibers dyed specifically to create patterns and images in the fabric, typically referring to fabrics produced within Japan using this technique. It is a form of ikat dyeing (resist dyeing), traditionally resulting in patterns characterized by their blurred or brushed appearance.
Some sources claim that kasuri was invented by a young girl, Den Inoue (1788–1869). Ikat techniques were practiced in the Ryukyu Kingdom (modern-day Okinawa) in the 12th or 13th century, and kasuri textiles were produced for export in the 14th century. After the invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1609, kasuri techniques entered southern Japan and had moved northwards to the Nara area of Honshu by 1750.
Increases in production continued until the 1930s, when the national government outsourced it to new colonies. By the last quarter of the 20th century, few people could afford the time necessary to dye and hand weave their own cloth. However, contemporary artisans continue to produce highly prized textiles using traditional methods.