Gloucestershire

Family's kimono collection up for auction in Cirencester

Masayo Long Image copyright Masayo Long
Image caption Masayo Long moved to the UK with her British husband in 1999, bringing her family's collection of kimonos

A collection of Japanese kimonos, thought to be the largest in the UK, is to be sold at auction.

Masayo Long moved to the UK with her British husband in 1999, bringing her family's collection of the garments.

Among the 140 items on sale is a kimono Mrs Long wore during a celebration of reaching adulthood, aged 20.

Some silk kimonos in the collection could fetch as much as £800 each, said auctioneer Philip Allwood, of Moore Allen & Innocent in Gloucestershire.

He said: "Kimonos are often offered for sale here and at other UK auction houses in ones and twos, but I can't recall anyone offering anything like 140 in one go.

"The craftsmanship is incredible and they are a real thing of beauty to behold, whether they are bought to be worn or displayed."

The intricate designs on the garments are woven into the fabric, and some included in the auction even contain threads of 18-carat gold and silver.

Image copyright Masayo Long
Image caption Among the 140 items on sale is a kimono Mrs Long wore during a celebration of reaching adulthood, aged 20

Some of the kimonos have been in Mrs Long's family for three or four generations.

The older kimonos were part of a much larger family collection, but many vintage pieces were lost during the war.

Some were destroyed by bombing, others were traded with farmers for rice when food was scarce.

One in particular was owned by Lady Kanao, a relative of Mrs Long and friend to the Emperor Taishō, who reigned from 1912 until 1926.

Lady Kanao lived near the Emperor's second home in Kobe, and would visit him to play music or read poetry.

The auction takes place at Moore Allen & Innocent on Friday.

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