The Kimono in New Spain and the Representation of Creole Identity in the 18th Century

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The Kimono in New Spain and the Representation of Creole Identity in the 18th Century
This paper aims to include New Spain in the debates about the spread of Asian gowns, or inspired by these models, in the Western world. During the 18th century the use of this type of garment became fashionable among the privileged classes throughout Europe. This subject has motivated several articles. The main authors have focused on the market and dissemination networks of the Dutch and British merchants. In other cases, they pay attention to the symbolic meanings, but the context of the Iberian empires or their territories in America still have not been incorporated into these reflections.

The close contacts with Asia and their role in the circulation of objects of that origin justify the pertinence of considering their contribution to the diffusion of this fashion and the particular circumstances in which it was literally incorporated into the wardrobe of each province.

I focus exclusively on the case of New Spain to analyze the role played by the kimono in the dynamics of ostentation and social differentiation throughout the 18th century, corresponding to the period of greatest incidence in the region. For this purpose, archival sources, such as inventories of personal property or stores, as well as pictorial and literary references will be taken into account. Considering that dressing is an important way for the social construction of the individual and their self-representation, I will recover the meaning of the garment for the Spanish "casta", who are often associated with kimonos in artistic narratives. I will ultimately demonstrate how those clothes, named with a word of Japanese origin, served to complement decorative programs of display that included the body.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventColonial Latin American Art Symposium - , United States
Duration: 2 Nov 20174 Nov 2017


ConferenceColonial Latin American Art Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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