Peacock Feathers and Japanese Costume Culture: Evaluations from Spectrum Images and Microscopic Observations


The iridescent and brilliance due to the optical anisotropy of peacock feathers attract humankind and cause a feeling of "KIREI (ethereal)". As a result of investigating the spectral characteristics of each part on the upper tail covert feather, it was confirmed that different spectral characteristics between greenish and brownish appear to depend on the lighting related to the weaving technique and design. The design of JINBAORI or OBI, which is weaved with peacock feathers, could be divided into two types: hilarious DATE, which peculiarity is the eccentric multiplex ovals shape, and austere DATE, which peculiarity is the complex optical anisotropic changes of the barbules. Though both show each <peacock-ness>, classification shows that JINBAORI tended to hilarious DATE designs in early medieval Japan. Its motivation would be inferred from the expectations for faith to originate from the peacock's symbolism. Interestingly, the austere DATE design appeared later.


structural colour; optical anisotropy; peacock; symbolism; costume design

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