History: Heian Period Junihito

To protect against high humidity, buildings had elevated floors made of tatami mats. The convention of sitting on the floor became an important part of the life style. Clothing became stiffer and more voluminous. Court women wore 10, 12, 15 or even 20 layers at a time. This layered dressing is called "juni-hito" which literally means "12 layers." The layered color pattern reflected many things including seasons, directions, virtues, and elements of the earth as they related to spirits of nature. The multiple layers also helped in staying warm in winter.

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Date last modified: 12-Oct-1999
Copyright 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology