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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Common people wore brown leather socks


COSTUME

style="text-align: justify;">A notable feature of costume in this era was that the skirt of an official's outer garment had to be long in proportion to his rank. But military men did not observe this rule. It was followed only by the comparatively effeminate Court nobles and civil officials, who shaved their eyebrows, painted their cheeks, and blackened their teeth, as women did. While the soldiers of the Kamakura period wore their hair short and shaved the top of the head,--possibly for greater comfort when they were accoutred in heavy helmets,--the Court noble and the exquisite of the day wore their hair long and gathered in a queue which was bound with paper.

As for women, long hair was counted a beauty, and when a lady of rank left the house, her tresses were gathered in a box carried by an attendant who walked behind; and when she seated herself, this attendant's duty was to spread the hair symmetrically on the ground like a skirt. Girls in their teens had a pretty fashion of wearing their hair in three clearly distinguished lengths--a short fringe over the forehead, two cascades falling below the shoulders, and a long lock behind. Women's hairdressing was simple in one respect: they wore no ornaments in the hair. Aristocratic ladies continued to wear loose trousers, but robes with skirts began to form a part of the costume of the lower classes and of unmarried girls. The girdle, so characteristic of Japanese habiliments in later days, had

not yet come into use. Its predecessor was a narrow belt of silk encircling the waist and knotted in front, the outer garment being a long flowing robe, reaching from the neck to the heels and having voluminous sleeves. Female headgear was various. A woman walking abroad wore a large hat like an inverted bowl, and when she rode on horseback, she suspended from the rim of this hat a curtain from three to four feet long.

There were other fashions, but only one of them need be mentioned, namely, a hood to envelop the face so that the eyes alone remained visible. In the city streets women of the town wore a distinctive costume as courtesans did in certain parts of Europe in the Middle Ages. The badge in Japan was a spirally twisted pyramidal cap of linen, about a foot and a half high. The materials of which clothing were made varied from rich Chinese brocade to coarse homespun, but, in general, the use of brocade was forbidden except to persons who had received it as a gift from the Court in Kyoto or Kamakura. Historical mention is first made of badges during the war of the Minamoto and the Taira. Their use was originally confined to purposes of distinction, and ultimately they came to be employed as a family crest by military men. A chrysanthemum flower with sixteen petals and a bunch of Paulownia leaves and buds constituted the Imperial badges, the use of which was interdicted to all subjects. It is not to be supposed, however, that badges were necessarily a mark of aristocracy: they might be woven or dyed on the garments of tradespeople or manufacturers. Footgear, also, offered opportunities for embellishment. Common people wore brown-leather socks, but those of position used blue leather having decorative designs embroidered in white thread.


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