A woman’s first furisode (a long-sleeved kimono, literally “swinging sleeve”) is given to her at the age of 20 when she is recognized as an adult, allowed to vote, responsible for committing crimes and is officially allowed to smoke and drink. A furisode is worn only by single women as a symbol that she is ready for marriage. The last time a woman wears a furisode is at her wedding reception and it is very elaborate and colorful. Worn as an outer garment of one of the 2-3 costume changes the bride will make during the reception, the furisode is intended to entertain the guests and accentuate the family’s status. The elaborate embroidery seen here depicts a grouping of long-tailed birds amongst flowers each which represents ideals of womanhood and marriage: serenity amidst splendor, longevity, sincerity, feminine beauty and sexuality. This furisode is an examples of the extravagance made possible by the late 20th century Japanese economy.
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