Momi (紅絹) is a term for thin silk fabric dyed in Beni (べに, crimson red) color traditionally used for linings or underwear for female Kimono in Japan.
It is said that wearing red color keeps human body warm. I remember my grandma used to tell me, "Girls should not keep their body cold". However, after the WWⅡ, Momi linings became uncommon because the color is so strong enough to be seen through the outer Kimono, and people became feeling uncomfortable with it. Today, Momi has become one of the criteria to evaluate vintage Kimono. If the Kimono has proper Momi lining, you can tell it is a truly vintage.
The origin of the term Momi came from its manufacturing process. After the preliminary dyeing with turmeric, the fabric is rubbed (Momu, もむ) with Benibana (紅花, safflower flowers) pigment to fix the red color. Nowadays, as the production of safflower in Japan has been drastically reduced, the newly manufactured Momi fabrics are hardly to be seen. Thus, Momi linings are truly precious today, and we have to recognize the value of this precious fabric, in order to treasure the heritage of our culture.
Click here to see a Bolg by a Former Maiko, "Do You Know?"