Karaginu mo

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Karaginu mo is the most formal court dress worn by ladies of the Imperial Court, dating to Heian Period (794-1172 CE).

The foundation layer consists of a white kosode, a plain robe with a small sleeve opening. Worn over this are scarlet nagabakama, trousers whose trailing hems are longer than the wearer's legs.

Kasane no irome refers to a set of robes arranged in a combination of colors that evokes a particular image of nature appropriate to the season or occasion. Worn over the kosode and nagabakama, a kasane consists of a hitoe (unlined inner robe) and five additional uchigi (robes) which may be lined or unlined depending on the season. In the early part of the Heian period, the kasane might include as many as forty uchigi, however, a sumptuary law passed in 1074 limited the number of uchigi to five.

Liza Dalby's Kimono: Fashioning Culture contains an excellent chapter on the colors and symbolism of kasane no irome.

Over these, the court lady would wear an uwagi, usually of figured silk with some sort of pattern. For less formal occasions, the uwagi was the outermost layer and therefore showier than the inner robes.

On the most formal occasions, the karaginu ("Chinese jacket") and mo completed the lady's ensemble. The karaginu is cut with shorter open sleeves and hems to show the layers beneath. The mo, a long white train whose construction is often compared to a "backwards apron" might be decorated with dye or metallic leaf attached with rice paste.

The term juni-hitoe is sometimes used to describe Heian ladies' dress. Meaning "twelve unlined robes", "juni-hitoe" appears to have come into use during the Edo period.

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