Juni-Hitoe (十二単) — Traditional Female Court Dress

“Juni-Hitoe” (十二単) is a traditional female clothing worn in formal occasions. The term “Juni-Hitoe” literally means “twelve layers,” which refers to the many layers of silk robes. It was worn by court ladies during the Heian period (794-1185). Now it is mainly worn by the female members of the imperial family in very special ceremonies.

The Juni-Hitoe consists of several layers of different colors and patterns, and the combination of these layers is said to represent the season, occasion, and the wearer’s status. The robes were also adorned with various accessories, such as hairpins, cords, and a folding fan.

Wearing the Juni-Hitoe was a complex process that required the assistance of several attendants. It was only worn by women of the court and aristocracy, and was a symbol of their status and refinement.