The colorful and stylized kimono--the national garment of Japan--expresses not only Japanese aesthetic sensibilities but the soul of Japan as well. In this beautifully written and lavishly illustrated book, Liza Dalby, author of the highly acclaimed Geisha and Tale of Murasaki, traces the history of kimono--its uses, aesthetics, and social meanings--to explore Japanese culture. Drawing on a variety of period texts including 17thcentury kimono pattern books, Dalby vividly recreates kimono and those who wore them through the centuries. She discusses the development of the kimono robe from its Chinese origins two thousand years ago to its assimilation as the national dress of Japan. An engaging mix of fashion history and social anthropology, this lively and scholarly book demonstrates in a new way how clothing can illuminate our understanding of culture.