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Jacket with Octopus

Jacket with Octopus


c. 1800–1868

Silk crepe (chirimen)

Neck edge to hem: 79.1 cm (31 1/8 in.); Across shoulders: 128.6 cm (50 5/8 in.)

L. E. Holden Fund 2020.66


Did you know?

Crepe results from the weft thread being kept tighter than the warp thread during weaving.


With its many long arms, the octopus lends itself to a tantalizing design, with the front of this garment displaying tentacles and the back revealing the face. An octopus motif sometimes appears on costumes for the role of the Catfish Priest, a sidekick of the main villain in the Kabuki play Shibaraku (Stop a Moment!). It is also seen in genre painting during the 1600s as a logo on the uniforms of transportation staff, perhaps indicating just how much they can carry. This jacket may have recycled the idea as a fashion statement.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
L. E. Holden Fund

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