Hand-embroidered red-crowned cranes adorn this beautiful vintage Japanese child’s vest offered by Over the Blue Horizon. In Japan cranes symbolize longevity, honor, loyalty – all qualities we hope our children possess. A pine tree branch is also embroidered on the vest – another symbol of longevity and youth.
The vest is made of blue silk fabric with gold metallic threads forming thin stripes about 1 1/2 inches apart. The vest is entirely handsewn of silk – the lining is cream colored, and the collar, body of the vest, and the tie closures are the blue silk. The color has a pleated ruffle around the edge.
The focal point of this sweet vest is on the back – a white and gold pine tree branch, ‘matsu’ in Japanese, is centered just under the collar, and on the lower back are the two cranes flying amongst the clouds. Red-crowned cranes are known as ‘tancho’ in Japan, characterized by the bright patch of red skin on their heads. The cranes are outlined in gold metallic thread with white and black stitches filling in the bodies of the cranes and tiny red stitches forming the accent on the head. The clouds are suggested by lines of tiny chain stitches in swirling lines. The vest is slightly padded, and the silk fabric is smooth and soft to the touch. There are two ties to close the vest, each measuring about 6 inches long. The tip of each tie has a small tassel formed by black embroidery thread.
The vest is in good condition with slight sun-fading across the back, just under the armholes. The fading is very light and hardly discernible. There are also a couple of very small, light stains on the lining and one on the back, bare visible, but other than that the vest is in very good condition. No tears or rips.
The jacket measures 10 inches across the shoulders above the arm holes, and 13.5 inches across the back under the armholes. It measures 20 inches from the top of the collar to the bottom edge of the hem at the center back.
This elegant vest would be an excellent addition to your collection of Japanese textiles, especially if you are fond of hand-embroidery.