Antique Ryo-Zuma Tomesode
  • More photos here - opens in a new window
  • A magnificent, antique, silk, tomesode kimono
  • Some of my Japanese garments have large, white stitching (shitsuke) round the edges. The Japanese put these stitches in to keep the edges flat during long periods of storage, these stitches just get pulled out before wearing the garment
  • A Ryo-Zuma kimono, which means it has mirror image textile art on the fronts, even though this extremely costly, hand applied textile art on the right front will be hidden from view. This can be found on some very high quality, pre-war kimonos. An additional sign of quality and expense is the lavish textile art on the inside of the fronts, seen by no one when it is worn, only the wearer knows it is there.
  • The silk is wonderfully soft and supple and you can see a hint of beautiful scarlet lining at the sleeve edges.
  • Made and bought in Japan
  • Fully lined
  • There are some tiny specks of foxing on the design, as is to be expected of this age. See photos below. Foxing is a characteristic of antique silks but it does not weaken the fabric, it just creates little tan specks. The foxing is very minor, particularly considering this kimono's age; it does not detract from the beauty or quality of the kimono at all
  • If the black looks grey or shaded in the pictures, it is just the photos, it is a lovely deep, smooth black
  • Supreme quality - this will have been a frighteningly expensive kimono. Only a very, very expensive kimono would have had such bold artwork and so much superb artwork inside too
  • Large, very detailed figures, with takarabune (treasure ship) festival carts and flower carts. It has absolutely stunning artwork on inner edges, as well as outside; the inner pattern intended to show as the kimono flicks slightly open when walking but with it mostly remaining concealed inside, providing hidden beauty, which is much loved by the Japanese. This inner design is called Tomohakkake, which means having a continuation of outer textile art onto the lining; tomo means 'including' and hakkake means 'lower lining of a kimono'
  • **If shown with a sash, the sash is not included; for display purposes only, to let you see it closed, however, all kimono require an obi or some sort of sash to hold them closed; these are always bought separately. Think of it like a skirt and blouse, you can't wear either on its own, you buy them separately and mix and match The Japanese take great pains to store their traditional garments with the utmost care, which is why they stay in such exceptional condition.


Excellent - tiny amount of very minor foxing - see details above and the photos

Sleeve end to sleeve end 126 cm
Sleeve seam to sleeve seam 62 cm
Length 153 cm

If shown modelled, the woman in the photos is 125 cm from wrist to wrist. The sash she is wearing with the kimono is not included, it's just to let you see it closed but kimonos do need an obi or wide sash to hold them closed

Antique Ryo-Zuma Tomesode

SKU: wk410
  • Kimono require a sash to hold them closed. This is always bought separately. If shown with a sash, it is normally not included, it is for display purposes only, unless otherwise stated in the description. Men usually wear a kaku obi with their kimono or, casually at home, a soft heko obi. 

    Sizing: Japanese clothing is usually of adjustable fit, being mostly wrap-over or tie-to-fit items, so most garments fit a range of sizes. Because of this (and only really knowing my own size anyway) I can't really advise anyone on the fit. Please judge fit from the measurements given. Check length given for the garment, then measure from base of back of your neck down to judge that length on you.

    Also measure from centre back of neck, along shoulder and down the arm to the wrist, then double that and compare it with the sleeve end measurement to judge sleeve length.

    Storage: Hang up your garment for a few hours prior to wearing, to remove fold creases. They should also be hung out to air 4 times per year, if not worn frequently. Hang your garment to air for a day or so immediately after purchase too, as it will have been stored for a while. The Japanese take great pains to store their traditional garments with the utmost care, which is why they stay in such exceptional condition. Some of my Japanese garments have white stitching (shitsuke) round the outside edges. The Japanese put these stitches in to keep the edges flat during long periods of storage, these stitches just get pulled out before wearing the garment.

    Cedarwood or lavender essential oil keeps moths away, but don't get it on the fabric, apply near it, on the box, wrapper, drawer etc. or on a tissue nearby.

    Cleaning: Be very cautious about washing kimonos. All cleaning is done entirely at your own risk, as is standard with all vintage garments and items. I would advise only dry cleaning for silk ones and for most synthetic ones, cotton ones may be dry cleanable too but select your dry cleaner carefully and take their advice before deciding if you want to try dry cleaning it. Some synthetic textile or cotton kimonos can be gently hand washed but the dyes can run even in some of those, so consider that before washing but, if you decide to wash, only cool hand wash very gently, do not rub, just gently squeeze the water through it a few times, do not wring, Use a detergent made for colours, not one for whites, as they contain bleaching agents. Do not machine wash, it can rip off the sleeves, but if you hand wash you can briefly machine spin it to remove excess water before hanging it to dry but do it on its own, separately from other items. All forms of cleaning are done at own risk. In Japan many kimonos, especially silk ones and any ceremonial ones, are cleaned by specialists in kimono cleaning, often by a special method called araihari, where they take it completely apart, clean the pieces, then sew it back together again.

    Uses: Kimono and haori can, of course, be worn but also make wonderful display items. If short of space for displaying one, consider a child’s kimono or a haori which are just as striking and beautiful as an adult kimono but require less space.

    Colour: Please be aware that different monitors display colour slightly differently. Therefore the colour in the photos and description is a guide only.

    Additional Information

    One must bear in mind that most are vintage items, which I strive to describe accurately and honestly. Most are in excellent vintage condition and therefore look virtually new but all are vintage, even the unused garments, which are or deadstock. A very, very few smell of mothballs or a touch of vintage mustiness but that is rare. This can be aired out and can sometimes be speeded up by tumble drying the dry garment at cool, but it should be put in a pillowcase in the dryer and is done only at your own risk. I have also had success at removing it by turning garments inside out and spraying very lightly with Oust, then letting them hang for a couple of days, but you do this at your own risk, as I can’t guarantee it won’t damage some fabrics. I found Oust to be much better at it than Febreze, even though Febreze is intended for some fabrics and Oust is an air freshener. Some synthetic textile and cotton kimonos can be hand washed but do this entirely at your own risk and only use a detergent for colours, as all other detergents contain bleaching agents to brighten whites. I usually mention any mothball or musty smell, if one does have it, but one must bear it in mind it is a possibility, even if not stated in the description, whenever buying vintage and antique textiles.