A plain silk miyamairi kimono used for christening a baby boy at a Shinto ceremony, featuring various yuzen-dyed 'karako' figures. 32" from sleeve-end to sleeve-end x 37" height. The Japanese term 'karako' generically refers to small Chinese children as they are portrayed in Japanese art. These children, depicted without reference to a specific sex but usually appearing to be boys, wear sets of Chinese traditional clothes and have bare heads except for two small tufts of hair. 'Karako' can represent the wish to have a male successor who will gain high social status, and also is a benevolent symbol which brings luck, happiness and prosperity. 'Karako' are divine beings in Japanese mythology that embody the innocence and wisdom that coexist in infants and the elderly; the transformational states that mark the beginning and end of life. The contemporary Japanese artist Akio Takamori has this to say about 'karako" iconography in general: “The infant boy is an embodiment of the vulnerable human life. Two opposed themes are joined in one body… his uncertainty and the expansiveness of his future and death.” The artist who painted this shinto ceremonial garment had much to say: while most such garments have the main iconography on the center backside, this textile exhibits an unusual large amount of iconography covering both the front and back of this textile, on the main bodice as well as the sleeves. Note: the detail images below the main gallery image to the left exhibit the artist's breadth of karako imagery.