Offered here is an authentic Ainu Ruwnpe kimono from my personal collection.
The clothes of the Ainu are greatly valued for the beautiful patterns created with appliqué and embroidery. In the Ainu language there is no word for pattern. One reason for this is because the pattern symbolized the wearer's inner spirit as well as the guardian spirit, so the Ainu try to avoid assigning the pattern a name.
Other characteristic patterns can be seen on the clothes. A spiral motif called "the eye of God" is found on the back and parentheses-like shapes and a net motif are usually found along the collar and cuffs. The tip of the "parenthesis" is called a thorn and is representative of a hunting arrow and the net, a fishing net.
This particular garment is called "Retara Kapara Amip", which literally means a "lightweight white garment", a type of Ruwnpe (garments with narrow strips of appliqué cloth). These garments were produced in the early 20th century, when cloth of considerable width was made available to the Ainu people. Part of the background "shows through" the cut-out fabric thus lending the name.
The base of this garment is a brown checked cotton. Narrow strips of white appliqué cloth have been affixed to the base, as well as decorative patchwork appliqué of mixed cottons and silks in contrasting reds and blues. This kimono reveals how valuable second-hand cloths from Honshu were to the Ainu people.
This Ainu garment is in overall excellent condition for it's age, with no major soiling and only some slight repairs. Please carefully examine the photos and feel free to contact me with any specific questions.
Dimensions: Length: 49.5"; Width: 47.5"; Pit to Pit: 25"