Textile of the Month

19th century

This raincoat shows the influence of European fashions in its inclusion of a collar on a more traditional Japanese shaped jacket. Traditionally, Japanese raincoats were made out of straw. This jacket is constructed from a plain weave cotton cloth, but raincoats were also made from silk, wool and mulberry paper.

The paper jackets were carefully layered and treated with a mixture of persimmon juice and natural oils. The exterior of this coat is indigo dyed cotton treated with oil to make it water-resistant. There was a belief held by Japanese farmers that indigo not only strengthened the fibers in a garment, but that the smell of the dye also repelled insects and snakes.

The cotton textile used for the interior of the piece is decorated using a technique called katazome. The technique uses a paste-resist applied to the fabric through a stencil. This technique allows the user to achieve very thin lines and cover large areas of cloth.


Plain weave, katazome
51" x 36"
The Textile Museum 2001.33.3
Gift of Harry and Diane Greenberg