Tortoise Shells – Kimono Patterns

Kikou | Turtle shells | tortoise shells
This is a very common pattern on men’s kimonos, but it is still used in many unique ways on women’s kimonos, obis, and other accessories. If you’ve seen a turtle before, you’ll understand where the kikkou pattern originated.
This image is of a men’s kimono, with a simple tortoise shell pattern woven into the fabric.
The old proverb says that “a crane lives for a thousand years, but a tortoise lives for ten thousand”, so this pattern symbolizes good health and longevity to a much greater extent than herons, which also represent good health, longevity and good fortune. .
This image shows how the tortoise shell pattern can be constructed from other objects used in kimonos, such as pine needles.
Because there are sometimes interesting patterns and shapes within each geometric shape on a tortoise shell, artisans have been inspired to add flowers, animals, landscapes, and other patterns within each segment.
Here you can see a gold and orange tortoise shell pattern in a more traditional style, which fills in the shape of a cloud.
If you look at enough kimonos, you will see many different ways on how to wear the hexagonal tortoise shell shape.
You can also see things like this artistic version of the tortoise shell pattern, with flowers, plants, and rivers inside the inner oval, and flowers in the space between the oval and the edges.
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