The robes used by the dancers and musicians of the Japanese Imperial Palace are rich and complex usually worn in several layers, after the court style of the Heian Period in Japan. In contrast to the softer lines and flowing robes that were used in the Nara period, those of Heian often took on an almost architectural quality with stiff but diaphanous silk that stood out from the body. To achieve this effect, the silk was dyed and woven with a combination of raw and boiled silk thread, often one going vertially and the other horizontally.
The textiles were sometimes used plain, particularly for Shinto related ceremonies. Most often however, the cloth was embroidered after weaving. In addition, the cloth was often woven with a damask pattern. Such patterns can only be seen at very close range. There are woven cloud patterns, flower patterns, lozenges, and squares. For active character dances, called hashiri mai, or running dances, and for military dances, that is, dance in which the dancers represent soldiers, the woven pattern are very rich in embroidered patterns
|Dancer being prepared for the stage.|
|A belt used by dancers with stones or pieces of metal sewn to the belt in order to catch the long train of the robe|
|The shoes worn by dancers have soles of deerskin. The surface of the shoe is made of knotted woven silk thread.|
|A detail of a dance robe for the dance, Ringa, or "song of the Forest" in which four dancers represent mice dancers in a temple compound.|
|A detail of the cloth trousers used by the dancers for the dance, Hannari.|
|A detail of the cloth trousers used by the dancers for a running dance.|
|A detail of the embroidered silk cloth tunic used by the dancer for the running dance, Sanju.|
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Last Updated 12.16.98