Taisho uchikake. Taisho period (1912-1926), Japan. The Kimono Gallery. A vivid and remarkable silk wedding kimono featuring a masterful depiction of a phoenix, paulownia and peony flowers. The patterning technique is yuzen on a smooth, plain-spun high quality silk. The phoenix and the paulownia are intimately associated in Japanese legend – the phoenix will only alight on the branches of this tree. A composite of several animals, the phoenix is a symbol of peace and the rising sun, a bird whose song is particularly musical and auspicious. Because the phoenix is the female counterpart of the male dragon and its varied colored feathers represent the traditional virtues of truthfulness, propriety, righteousness, benevolence and sincerity – it is an auspicious bridal motif. The peony is an auspicious flower, known as the flower of riches and honor and is an emblem of wealth and distinction. It symbolizes prosperity, happiness, and peace. An emblem of love and affection, the peony is often a symbol of feminine beauty.