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Published: 14 September 2019

By Andy Ross

Japanese design motifs

The textile collection at the studio in Yell has a set of kimonos and haori (short coats) which include some men’s formal wear with crests on them.

Our collection includes some of these beautiful pieces with an added secret – inside are hand-painted scenes of elephants, boats, people… Only the wearer and his dresser know that these are there; a delightful thing to keep hidden. However, on the outside of some of our collection, there are crests; symmetrical designs mainly, which indicate the wearer’s family.

This week a new book, about the crests, has been added to the library. Entitled Japanese Design Motifs, the book contains 4260 illustrations of the crests as well as some of the history of the designs’ evolution. Originally published in 1913, this is the reprinted Dover edition in English translation. We will try to look for the crests on our pieces and find out more about the families they come from. A fascinating book to delve into and browse for design ideas or simply to admire the breadth and beauty of these heraldic motifs.