What is the meaning behind kimono patterns?
Ekasumi (Kasumi) | 江霞 | Fog/Haze

Click to see our current stock of items graced with fog/haze.

While this can be confused with clods, it's easy to see what makes the design of fog unique. It's typically in the shape of the エ ("e") character in katakana. This is comprised of two long, smooth horizontal lines with a short vertical line connecting both. The two long horizontal lines will also usually be extended to the opposite side of each other.

This center connector isn't a requirement, and there are also times where three or more horizontal lines are connected.

A folding fan with fog and chrysanthemums on the inside.

While fog is more closely associated with the springtime, this pattern can be seen on kimonos for every season.

Cloud patterns in kimonos will usually be somewhat complicated shapes, mimicking the constantly-changing nature of the real clouds, but fog patterns will usually be smooth and safely rounded. When you look at fog in the mountains or on the ground, it seems to sit there, unchanging, and either with no end or a gradual fall off.

 Golden lining around fog, with flowers accenting the pattern.

Seemingly matching the haziness of the real thing, the fog pattern doesn't have much of an intrinsic meaning. It does more to influence the meaning or design of other patterns than contribute a specific meaning in and of itself.

If it's the only pattern on a kimono, then it more so gives a simple, subdued aesthetic. When fog is shown around flowers, thoughts of springtime mornings are evoked.

On this tomesode, we can see an ancient army of Japan marching towards war amongst fog and pine trees. This indicates that the battle began in the early hours of the morning.

Fog can be used to help tell a story or to add details to art. When shown along with people or animals, the fog can also signify that there's movement, bringing up the concept of fog rolling in or rolling out.

There mystical birds - phoenixes (ho-oh) - are flying across fog. Waves (seigaiha) are also depicted inside the fog.

Because fog often acts as a filler for empty space, it also is oftentimes used as a canvas to add more details. Flowers and repeating patterns are shown inside this pattern quite often.

Find all of our posts on kimono patterns by clicking here.

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