The Costume Museum Kyoto Japan Costume History in Japan
The Edo Period  
134 - A selected woman who serves on dinner for the Emperor
The Costume Museum Kyoto JapanThe Costume Museum Kyoto Japan

1 Kokoroba
2 Hirabitai
3 Kushi
4 Hikage-no-ito
5 Kinushita
7 Karaginu
8 Bonbori Ohgi
9 O
10 Eginu
11 Aka-no-haribakama
12 O-chu or o-suberakashi
13 Takenaga
14 E-mottoi
15 Kobinsaki
16 Naga-kamoji
The court lady in the photo was called "uneme", who was near the Emperor and took charge of things, such as serving Emperor's table. "Uneme" means a young woman. The "une" as in "uneme" means "to select", and the "uneme" means a selected beautiful woman. When the "uneme" is considered in the modern way, it is equivalent to a beauty queen. It is written in the clause of Emperor Kohtoku, Nihon Shoki (=Chronicle of Japan) 25, that the "uneme" were widely collected at every area in the ancient time. By the legal codes of Yohroh in the Heian eras, six "uneme" were assigned to work for "suishi (=office for water)", one of the 12 government offices in the back palace; 60 "uneme" were arranged to work in the royal kitchen in the back palace as well; in order to superintend them, the superviser of the "uneme" was appointed to work for the Department of the Imperial Household. By the legal codes of Enki in the Heian eras, it is recorded that the emperor gave the land near Miyagi prefecture to 37 "uneme" maids. Such a royal benefit went out of custom gradually, however, the record of Kamakura era shows that the "uneme" maids for serving at the royal table were called "kamiage uneme (=rising hair uneme)", maids who arranged the hair. As regard to the "kamiage uneme", there is an opinion of the opinion of maids, "migushi-age" for the court ladies, and "uneme" "uneme" maids of having arranged their straight hair for serving at the royal table. [ which serves dressing hair ] In the Muromachi era, the "uneme" maids were chosen from the daughters of elder statesmen of many daimyo families and the custom continued till the Edo era. According to the Gomizuo-in's annual event calendar, the "Naishi-dokoro" office in the Imperial Court‚Ì"toji", the lower court lady, as "toji", the lower court lady, of the "Naishi-dokoro" office in the Imperial Court, the "uneme" maids were also at service. Besides them, the "uneme" royal maids called "Achiya" or " Akaka" were at service; it seems that the daughters of Shinto priests or government officials were nominated as these roles. At present time, in the case of a Harvest Festival after an Emperor's enthronement and the Niname festival,when the Emperor personally offers the "omono" steamed rice made from the new husks of the year, the "shiroki" white sake, and the "kuroki" black sake and etc. to pray for the eight million gods in the sky and the ground,the court ladies called the "baizen" and "shindori" wear the dress of the "uneme" royal maid, and serve on their roles. As far as the costume of "uneme" in the Heian era is concerened, the Saiguki [extraordinary 4] writes, "Uchimiya baizen, court lady attendants wearing blue long sleeve garments, and so and so...the "uneme" wear ordinary karaginu dresses, etc." Moreover, "Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon" writes, " Eight unemes were taken out riding on the horse bakcs. The scenery that their garments, such as the mo garments of dark blue sleeves, the kuntai ornamental waist strings, and the hire showles..., have been currently blown by the wind, is very interesting." Therefore, it can be said that the costume for"uneme" was a formal costume for the Imperial court, which in a set with the "mo" garment, the "kutai" string, and the "hire" shawl. The dress of ten serving court ladieses, which was described at record of accession to the throne of the Emperor Eijin of the Kamakura era at the end of the 13th century, shows that the court ladies of the same status of a grade as the "uneme" ladies wore "karaginu" dress of the "dei-e (mud picture)" painting. According to the "Kojitsu Shuyoh", the book of old regulations and customs, such as a ceremony, a legal system, manners, and dress and ornaments, the dress of "uneme" ladies in the middle of the Edo era is; the "e-ginu" garment : "The color of camellia flower and the lining cloth are the raw silk. The outer material is yellowish green in color with the pattern of cloud." " The outer material is silk, the cloth is in the color of flowers, and is with the pattern of the blue ocean." the "hakama" trousers: Both the outer material and lining cloth are red "hiraginu" silk. The figure in the photo wears only the garment of the pattern of blue-sea waves under the "e-ginu" garment; it does not wear "karaginu" garment of half-the-body size, like the one after the late Edo era. The color of the flower of these clothes is blue which the Saiguki tells the amorous glance of "seijin", the color blue dust. It is common in the "doro-e" of the record for the ceremonies of accession to the throne of the Emperor Eijin Einin. According to the court lady dress wear order of Ancient-Practices Series, white prints of the butterfly patterns are in a green "karaginu" garment. As for "e-ginu" garment, its outer material is white in color and its lining cloth is with the patterns of yellowish cloud, a pine, water, and a mountain stream. It is annotated that pictures are not restricted to this code. It wears "hitoe" kimono of the pattern of blue-sea waves in white color on yellowish green material inside, a "hirabitai" ornament, etc. on the head and a red "naga-bakama (=long hakama)" trousers . According to "the extract of modern court lady's full dress", the "uneme" lady in the court lady's full dress, which was revived in the Kyoho 7 of the late Edo period, wore her dress as follows: In short, before the Kyoho period, the "hitoe" garment with the pattern of blue-sea waves was worn under the "e-ginu" garment, and the "hakama"is the long "hakama"; after the Kyoho period, the "karaginu" garment of the pattern of blue-sea waves was worn, and the "hakama" trousers was the short one . Moreover, the "kinushita" or the "kosode", a kimono with short sleeves was the "Kohbai-ori" fabrics in a deep color after the Kyoho period; it was changed into white kneaded silk fabrics and the "chihaya" cloth was further added as an object for divine works after the Meiji era. ("Cihhaya" is a sash-like cloth which was worn by the lady to serve a divine work.) Making reference the original costumes of the Meiji and Taisho Era, the imaginary costume of the figure in the photo was reproduced in the style of the late Edo Era.